Student Sammy-Jo on key

Service users at Blackpool Music Academy on Waterloo Road.  POictured is Sammy-Jo Melrose.
Service users at Blackpool Music Academy on Waterloo Road. POictured is Sammy-Jo Melrose.
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While Blackpool Music Academy teaches people of all ages and talents, one of its brightest students has overcome major obstacles to learn the piano and keyboard.

Sammy-Jo Melrose, 21, is blind and has learning difficulties.

Despite the challenges she faces, she has just passed her Grade Three piano examination after academy tutoring.

She is one of a number of people to learn their music skills at the Waterloo Road-based academy, with Jim Leahy, 78, Sammy-Jo’s foster parent, praising the positive impact the venue has had on her life.

Mr Leahy, of Lune Grove, Blackpool, said: “Her only passion is playing the piano and keyboard.

“Teachers at the academy have helped her learn. We support her 100 per cent. She is up to Grade Three now – it is quite an achievement. She also helps at Holy Trinity Church playing the organ – she is really active.”

At home Sammy-Jo has a double keyboard, a keyboard and an electric piano.

After playing for 18 months, she is one of the academy’s success stories – with Jim backing our Give Us A Tune appeal asking for Gazette readers to donate 50 instruments and £20,000 to subsidise lessons at the academy.

So far, 30 instruments have been donated – 20 off our target.

Mr Leahy, who is learning the guitar at the academy, added: “We want people to support Give Us A Tune.

“Sammy-Jo will go further with the academy. We will give the academy any backing we can. We know what they do for people – they are brilliant. She has come on leaps and bounds.”

Famous names including DJ Danny Howard, singer Little Boots and West End star Jodie Prenger have all thrown their support behind our campaign. If £20,000 is raised, it will help subsidise 10 classes of six musicians for a year, with lesson fees which normally cost £10 dropping to £4 per person.

Anyone interested in supporting our Give Us A Tune campaign can drop instruments off at the Academy in Waterloo Road, Blackpool.

To donate money to the Academy, visit or contact (01253) 695398.