Baby Marianne Kennedy’s rare connection with Myleene Klass
Published: October 13, 2011
by TOM FOOT
SHE cannot speak or crawl and barely reacts when she is given a new toy.
But when Marianne Kennedy hears a melody from her favourite guitar she reaches out to play.
The two-year-old is one of just 43 people in this county registered with incurable Phelan-McDermid syndrome – there are just 460 worldwide.
Her father Paul Kennedy, 47, said she had begun interacting with other children for the first time after starting therapy sessions at Nordoff Robbins in Parliament Hill five weeks ago.
He said: “When she sees the guitar she tries to strum or touch the strings.
“When you are a parent in this situation, any signs of progress are really highlighted – it’s fantastic.”
On Tuesday, TV celebrity Myleene Klass – a classically trained musician who turned to pop with the band Hear’Say – dropped in to meet Marianne at the centre.
Mr Kennedy, who lives in West Hampstead, said: “Marianne sat with her for a while, which was unusual. Myleene played a couple of rock riffs for her on the guitar. She was very genuine.”
Ms Klass is perhaps best known as runner-up in the reality TV show I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here and also as a Marks & Spencer model.
She is a trained musician who has played her grandfather’s violin since she was four years old.
Nordoff Robbins uses music to help children and adults with learning difficulties, mental illness or terminal illness.
For more information on the charity’s new group sessions – costing £3-£5 per a session – contact www.nordoff-robbins.org.uk/londongroups