CELLIST Julian Lloyd Webber is taking part in a fundraising evening at the newly re-branded Wesley Centre, Malton, on Saturday.

The Grade II-listed Methodist chapel in Saville Street has dodged closure several times, particularly after its roof collapsed in 2015.

A £1 million appeal is under way to transform the building into a community hub with a concert hall, and Lloyd Webber's event this weekend will be followed by a second fundraiser, An Evening With Lesley Garrett, the Yorkshire soprano, on July 5.

Lloyd Webber will take his 7pm audience on a magical musical journey, interlaced with insights into his life. Music by Bach, Faure, Saint Saens and Rachmaninov, alongside works by his brother Andrew and father William, will be introduced by Lloyd Webber and performed by his wife, cellist Jiaxin Lloyd Webber, and her pianist Pam Chowhan.

Rare video footage of Lloyd Webber performing with Nigel Kennedy, Katherine Jenkins, Yehudi Menhuin, Joaquin Rodrigo, Cleo Laine, Stephane Grappelli and others will be complemented by his stories and anecdotes of touring, recording sessions, concerts and television shows.

"It will be a fun evening,” says Julian. "There will be a question-and-answer session where people are free to ask me anything they want – well, yes, pretty much anything! I hope it will be entertaining and, above all, it would be nice to see some young faces there.”

Central to the planned refurbishment is the restoration of an historic pipe organ as the Wesley Centre's centrepiece. "The organisers have asked me to do this event primarily because my father, William Lloyd Webber, was a renowned organist and composer, who was Rector of the Methodist Central Hall, in Westminster," says Julian.

"The main reason he went there was because he loved that organ and he oversaw it being rebuilt."

Lloyd Webber was forced to stop playing cello in 2014 after a slipped disc in his neck reduced the power in his right arm, but he enjoys the format of this weekend's show. "Though I don't perform any more, I still love the interaction with an audience, talking about things like growing up in the Lloyd Webber household when it was always very noisy with music.

"My wife will play cello, and it will be a good introduction to classical music for children as the programme will be really light," he says.

Lloyd Webber will host an impromptu mini-masterclass for two young, aspiring Ryedale cellists too. "I've invited them to play for five minutes and I'll offer them some tips on stage," he says.

Principal of the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire since July 2015, Lloyd Webber is passionate about access to music for young people. "I was very lucky to be born into a musical family. Had I not been, the only place would have been school, but if schools don't have music, it's difficult to be introduced to music.

"Music provision is patchy now, but we have a situation where schools can still be judged as 'outstanding' when they don't have even a single note of music there. Something needs to be done about that as a generation of children is missing out on music."

Lloyd Webber has adapted since putting down his cello bow for the last time, but his sense of loss at that enforced curtailment is still palpable. "Playing cello was totally my life, so it was a strange time, particularly when I was still trying to play, having treatment but knowing that something was fundamentally wrong," recalls Julian.

"Then I was unemployed for a year but because I was involved in music education, I got the post I now have at the Conservatoire, but you have to bash the door pretty hard."

Helping shape musicians for the future is proving rewarding, whether at the Conservatoire or at events such as Saturday's fundraiser.

"I do get young musicians coming up to me and asking for advice, especially about being soloists, and it's a pleasure to give tips," says Julian.

Above all, he believes in the transformative power of music. "Everyone has a soundtrack to their lives – music they’ve been brought up to, music they love – it’s one of the key things that brings people together," he says.

"I hope Saturday's audience will come out loving the music we’ve played and wanting to know more, rather than just admiring the performers. I hope it helps develop their love of music."

Tickets are on sale at £18 to £24.04 at maltonwesleycentre.org/Event/an-evening-with-julian-lloyd-webber. Appeal donations can be made at maltonwesleycentre.org.

Charles Hutchinson