A CLASSICAL pianist has recruited some vital help in his musical mission, which is gathering pace in Basildon and is set to spread across the whole country.

James Rhodes, dubbed the musical Jamie Oliver, put on a concert at Basildon’s Towngate Theatre, in St Martin’s Square, this week in a bid to get children and adults interested in learning an instrument.

It was filmed for a Channel 4 documentary, set to be screened in September. Now James, 39, who kicked off his campaign at St Teresa’s Catholic Primary School, Basildon, has revealed he has recruited the help of a talented music teacher from Northwick Park Primary School, Canvey.

Sarah Goldsmith leads a choir and orchestra there, and believes it is important to get pupils interested in music from a very early age.

James, who has performed to crowds around the world, said: “She’s a very talented musician and I couldn’t have achieved what I have at St Theresa’s without her.

“She runs a very successful music department at Northwick, but St Theresa’s isn’t lucky enough to have the equipment.”

The Great Instrument Amnesty, which is the working title of the documentary, is being produced by Jamie Oliver’s production company, Fresh One.

It was originally intended to do for children’s music education what the chef did for school dinners. Now, James wants to see adults pick up instruments too, and is set to take his mission to community centres across the borough.

He said: “We have had an amazing response from the parents and teachers at St Theresa’s, but I want to move it into the wider community of Basildon. My vision is to get the whole of Basildon playing an instrument.

“What we are doing here in Basildon is a blue print.

“I want my mission to reach across the country. I’m going to do as much as I can to make that happen.”

As part of the programme, James is asking people to donate unused recorders, trumpets and violins to help schoolchildren and community groups set up orchestras.

Anyone who went to the Towngate Theatre concert armed with a classical or orchestral instrument was given free entry.

Thirty-five instruments have already been donated, but Mr Rhodes is looking for 55 more.

Anyone who can help should call 07763 398781 or visit facebook.com/ jamesrhodesinstruments