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Weekly helps band killed in car crash reach the charts

A weekly newspaper helped a band killed in a car crash find posthumous fame after launching a campaign to get them in the charts.

The Warrington Guardian also ran a special tribute edition to indie four-piece Viola Beach, who died along with their manager in Sweden on 13 February.

Having broken the tragic news on its website at 9am the following day, the Guardian launched a campaign to get the band’s song ‘Swings and Waterslides’ to number one, which received backing from Liam Gallagher, The Stone Roses , Kasabian and BBC Radio One DJ Huw Stephens.

While Danish quartet Lukas Graham retained their place at number one on Friday, ‘Swings and Waterslides’ entered the charts at 11.

The band had been due to visit the Guardian’s offices today for a photo shoot as the newspaper planned an eight-page special for an upcoming hometown gig.

Instead, readers were greeted with a black and white front page on Thursday, in the band’s memory – with a 12-page pullout tribute supplement inside.

Warrington Viola

Reporters David Morgan and Lauren Hirst interviewed the parents of all the band members – Kris Leonard, River Reeves, Tomas Lowe and Jack Dakin – as well as the parents of manager Craig Tarry.

Editor Hayley Smith said: “It is impossible to begin to understand what the families and friends of Craig, Kris, Tomas, Jack and River are going through and we pass on our sympathies to all those affected by this terrible tragedy.

“On Tuesday Viola Beach were due to come into our office for a photo shoot and we were planning an eight-page special for the band’s upcoming Warrington gig. So to have had to fill those pages with tributes has filled all of the team here with incredible sadness.

“The outpouring of grief felt across the whole town this week has been genuine, and although the campaign to get the band into the charts won’t bring them back, it would be a fitting lasting tribute and give them the success we knew lay ahead.”