A recovering addict is travelling the UK with a PIANO – to share his belief that music saves lives

·3-min read

A recovering addict is travelling the UK with a PIANO - performing at beauty spots to share his belief that music saves lives. James Tofalli, 29, started the journey at John O' Groats, Caithness, Highlands, and aims to finish at Land's End, Cornwall, all while carrying his 270kg piano on a trolley and playing at beauty spots along the way. The former chef, who is now a fulltime musician, battled an addiction to 'zombie drug' Spice but went cold turkey in 2015 and found playing piano gave him something to live for. He now hopes to spread the message that music 'saved his life' and can also help others struggling with addiction and mental health. Moving footage showed him performing 'Children' by Robert Miles on the banks of Loch Ness, Highlands. James, from the Medway, Kent, improvises classic music covers in a blues style and has stopped off along such spots including Castletown, Thurso, Inverness, and Loch Ness armed only with his piano, trolley, and a small supply of food and clothes. He is already on his second piano - the first falling victim to potholes on the roads - and has been wowed by the response from people who have witnessed his performance. James said: "There has been so much positivity from members of the public, lots of beeps and waves which is all I need. "I've hand pulled the piano on a turntable trolley to here, but the last few days it's been made into an assisted trolley to give me breaks and a small amount of power. "Playing happens as and when the feeling is right. "I started on April 16 and expect to see Lands End at the beginning of next year. "There have been tough days but the public keeps me from stopping. "The biggest challenge has been potholes. "The trailer has flipped three times due to potholes and killed piano number one. "Piano number two has only recently joined the journey after being delivered to me in a van from my sponsors. "Apart from that, I'd say I've been blessed with the weather. "I have got a spot of lunch on the go now. I usually feed myself but never say no to hospitality. "I've got around 30kg of kit to keep me going whilst on the road, and that's it. "To be comfortable enough to talk about my past is inspiring so many people. "The message I am trying to spread is that music saved my life, it can yours too. "I was addicted to spice in 2015, and after going cold turkey for 17 days the first place I went to was St Pancras station in London and sat and played at the piano. "I've never looked back. "I had very few keyboard lessons as a child, but I pushed away from it as it was something that was pushed onto me. "I only really started concentrating on it from 2015." He has already received nearly £4,000 in donations and hopes to be able to use the money to create a foundation to provide music workshops across the UK. James said: "The current total is at £2,400 but I've collected £1,300 extra in cash donations. "I hope to be able to provide music aid through pop-up and online workshops by providing instruments and lessons across the board. "I want to be able to provide free instruments, as funding for music is constantly being cut. "Music saved my life from addiction in 2015, and it's been my mission to inspire ever since." To donate visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/tofallimusic?utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet&utm_medium=copy_link_all&utm_source=customer.

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