A FRIENDSHIP spanning 65 years and 3,000 miles is bringing a world renowned pianist to the Sage Gateshead for a concert in aid of the British Red Cross.

Janina Fialkowska grew up with the now president of the charity’s Northumberland branch, Elspeth Straker, in Montreal.

Elspeth, who has long since lived in Corbridge, said her old friend had a particularly soft spot for the charity – her father’s family was kept afloat by Red Cross food parcels in the years after the First World War.

Ms Fialkowska, who had the legendary Artur Rubinstein for a mentor, will give the benefit concert on the evening of Tuesday, May 21.

Elspeth said: “When Nina played at the Hexham Abbey Music Festival in 2016, she was a huge hit.”

While tickets for the concert are available from the Sage box office, transport from Hexham can be arranged by contacting Elspeth on 07740929430.