Biggleswade residents could make a festive dream come true and send a charity single for Dementia UK soaring to the top of the Christmas charts.
Sandy musician, Kevin Hall, 52, was inspired to write Lost Inside because his mother, Maura, 85, was diagnosed with dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Struggling to cope with her condition, Kevin expressed his feelings in the song and hoped it would bring solace to others, especially at Christmas.
The idea for the charity single came when the mother and son went on a road trip to Ireland, where Maura grew up.
“Spending time together helped us to reconnect,” said Kevin. “I saw her as my mum again, not a patient who needed help.
“I realised she wasn’t lost to me – I still had my mum, I just needed to find her and pull her out.”
However, the writing process was both cathartic and painful.
He added: “It brought up a lot of emotions. Before mum was diagnosed, things were really difficult.
“She was very anxious and would phone me over 30 times a day. It was all-consuming and draining, but people just said I should be more understanding.
“I was feeling frustrated, angry, and guilty and I felt completely alienated.
“It’s been tough, but once mum was diagnosed and I knew what I was dealing with, things started to get easier.
“I’m reading books about dementia to help me understand it and I’ve started performing in care homes.
“Music is an amazing source of energy.”
Kevin himself knew all the right ingredients and emotions to pour into his Christmas single, having played music all his life.
He said: “I’ve always played music for as long as I can remember. I’m a classically trained pianist to Grade 8, but I then discovered that playing in bands was a much better way to meet girls! I formed our first band at 18, in The Kings Arms in Sandy, called Vice Versa, which finally came to an end in 2012.”
Kevin had an alternative career as a financial consultant with Norwich Union from 1990 to 1996, but decided to come back to his “first love” and make a living out of music.
He started out with managing his own acts and then moved into agency/ management work in the early 2000s, booking acts such as Will Young, Catherine Jenkins and Alison Moyet.
Kevin said: “There are so many highlights both with Vice Versa and on my own, one of which was performing at the opening of the Sofitel for Terminal 5 Heathrow backing Cliff Richard and meeting Bobby Davro, who has become a close personal friend. I help Bobby with his local hospice in Woking performing with [my band] Rollacoaster.”
Putting his musical skills to the test, Kevin hopes listeners will be inspired to download the single, as proceeds go to Dementia UK.
The charity has a helpline for anyone with a question or concerns about dementia or Alzheimer’s, and also provides Admiral Nurses to give specialist one-to-one support for families.
Also, importantly, he hopes it will be a fitting tribute to his mother and anyone else in a similar situation.
Julie Cox, from Dementia UK’s Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline, said: “This is such a heartfelt song and it’s a real privilege that Kevin has decided all proceeds go to Dementia UK.
“Christmas can be an isolating time, but music has the power to bring people together. This is especially the case for family carers and people diagnosed with the condition. We’re all rooting for a Christmas number one.”
Kevin, who lives just down the road from his mum, said: “We go out for a coffee and chat and she’ll tell me the same story again and again. But I’ve learnt that I’m a patient man. I know that mum will get worse, so I’m enjoying the good bits while she’s still here.”
But there is light in the future.
Kevin and his wife Louise, 50, will be celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary next year, while Kevin aims to keep his mother independent for as long as possible, with carers visiting three times a day.
People can see Kevin performing with Rollacoaster and locally with Back To The 80s and The Darkside Owls.
He also works with Fire Elephant as a consultant, managing and representing acts, and has an album, Stand Alone, coming out in early 2020.
Lost Inside, written by Kevin Hall and sung by Damien Edwards, can be downloaded from iTunes, Amazon Music and other digital platforms, for around 99p.
The CD for Lost Inside costs £5 and will be available from December 15 at ww.facebook.com/FireElephantUK/
To watch the video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFE0pGL5XtA