Thursday, 31 May 2012

Young composer’s song aims to help forces families

Picture caption: "Christopher Bevan at the grand piano in the Plymouth University, where he is currently studying."

A student from Leeds, who spent most of his childhood in care, has composed an emotive song which he hopes will raise funds for the nation’s injured servicemen and women.

Christopher Bevan, from Otley, who is studying for a Psychology degree at Plymouth University has composed Memories of You as a way to recognise the efforts of our armed forces personnel.

The song is now being sold online to raise money for Help for Heroes, and will boost the charity’s appeal to fund a number of new recovery centres across the country.

Christopher, 20, said:
“I composed the piece to make the public aware that there are people willing to give their lives for something they believe. Whether we think the war is right or wrong, these men and women do their duty and would take a bullet for any one of us despite the fact they have never met us.”

Christopher’s love affair with music began at the age of seven, and while his main passion is composing he also sings and plays the piano.

He has been a member of several youth choirs and written pieces for them, but says the inspiration for his latest work was listening to a family member talk about his experiences in Afghanistan.

Christopher said:
“My aunt’s partner told us how he once ran across the Afghan desert, with his best friend on his back after he lost both his legs. The friend died while he was being carried. He will live with this trauma for the rest of his life, yet he still has the courage to go about his everyday life, and he is just one of hundreds of people affected in this way.”

The song has been recorded by soprano Lucy Watmough, who went to Prince Henry’s Grammar School with Christopher, with the lyrics penned by Micki Stokoe. The video, which can be seen on YouTube was produced by Kevin Peech at KPDigital.

Chris' song will be performed live for the first time by international mezzo soprano Juliette Pochin at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Proms Concert, being held at St Andrew’s Minster Church in Plymouth on Saturday 2 June.

And continuing the royal theme, the song has received the personal approval of the Duke of Edinburgh after Christopher sent him a copy.

Christopher added:
“We received a letter from Buckingham Palace saying the Duke had enjoyed listening to the song and wished us every success. We sent a copy to several members of the Royal family because of their connection to the Forces, and to receive something back was fantastic.”

Memories of You, sung by Lucy Watmough, can be purchased on iTunes, Amazon, HMV and many other retailers. The video for the song can also be viewed on YouTube.

After first going into care aged four, Chris stayed with several foster families and then was moved to Inglewood Children's Home in Otley at the age of six where he remained until he was 17.

Chris has received much support from his Pathway Planning advisor at Leeds City Council, Sean Lloyd, since he left Inglewood three years ago.

Sean said:
“Chris has demonstrated the power of compassion and determination over the past couple of years, to help others. Although I know he really wants to finish the dream with Katherine Jenkins performing the piece, to raise the much needed funds for the Help for Heroes charity.

“I know that the whole of Leeds Social Care think very highly of Chris and his music endeavours, and his true grit, inspiring other young people.”

Leeds City Council’s Pathway Planning team supports 16 – 23 year olds who are about to leave or have recently left local authority care.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713

Notes to Editors
Christopher Bevan is available for interview on request and a recording of his song, and the accompanying video, can be used for radio/TV interviews as needed. It can be listened to, and viewed, here