‘I want to leave something behind’ - Banks of the River Tyne singer aims to write his name into Newcastle history after terminal prognosis

“I don’t wallow in self-pity or anything. I’m fortunate to have got to where I am, do what I do and experience what I have.”

It's 2pm on Saturday, October 30 and Newcastle fans are making their way to St. James' Park, past a ruckus booming out of The WonderBar in The Gate.

Inside, Junior Turner is belting out 'Banks of the River Tyne', a track that is fast becoming a local anthem.

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The rousing single, which touches on Tyneside's history and what it means to be a Geordie, had garnered plenty of support online but had Junior wondering if it would translate into a performance.

He said: "Those are the die-hard Newcastle supporters [in The WonderBar] who love Gerry Cinnamon and Oasis and there's me in the middle with a potential new anthem.

"It's a brutally honest audience and I knew it could go one of two ways. There were a few sleepless nights prior.

"There's been a lot of promotion put into it and it's done well online but the only way to get the true answer to see if that's led to anything would be to do that performance.

"On the day it was the most nervous I've ever been."

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Before going on stage Junior was introduced by social media star Alwaleed, a Saudi Arabian Newcastle United supporter visiting the city, whose unexpected presence calmed the singer's nerves.

Junior said: "Alwaleed introduced the song and the place went mental.

"I didn't know if it was because of him or because of the song then, no sooner had the song kicked in, I saw they had accepted it.

"It was Roy of the Rovers kind of stuff for me. It'll stay with me until the day I die."

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The success of 'Banks of the River Tyne' not only comes at a pivotal moment in the history of Newcastle United Football Club, but it's a poignant moment in Junior's life too.

The 37-year-old suffers from a hereditary blood clotting disorder and has been given a life expectancy of 40.

Junior received the diagnosis at just 17 years old when his health curtailed a trip to Spain to work in cabaret bars.

He was flown home and, just weeks later, collapsed.

He said: "I was found to have multiple blood clots right through my legs and to my lungs.

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"It's caused severe damage to my left leg, my lung and my heart.

"I still suffer daily. My left leg is twice the size of my right leg because I've still got a blockage there from when I had the clots, which causes daily pain and swelling.

"I was given a life expectancy of 40 by a specialist and I've always had that in the back of my mind, whether it comes true or not only time will tell.

"Because of that, with this song, it's become more of a challenge for me to cement a place in local history.

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"I want to leave something behind to be remembered by. I hope and pray this song is that thing.

"I don't wallow in self-pity or anything. I'm fortunate to have got to where I am, do what I do and experience what I have."

There's no doubt that 'Banks of the River Tyne' is already well on its way to doing just that, having been played at St. James' Park and now making its way around the city.

Junior is "forever grateful" for the track's success so far, but knows the sky is the limit for the single.

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He said: "Fans are talking about me performing it at St James' Park before a game, that would be the icing on the cake for me.

"The song isn't just a football song though, it's written about the North East and its heritage. My grandfather and my dad worked in the shipyards, so our history has always been a part of me."

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