When I decided to embark on telling my musical story I knew that eventually I would have to write this section. I knew what it would cost me to do that, how I would feel and I’ve dreaded getting to this chapter. But it’s crucial because without it I wouldn’t be at this point with my music.

But first let me set the scene. Years had passed since I’d recorded All In My Mind and Ghosts Of Your Past and I’d done very little with my music but it kept drawing me back, pulling at me until I finally gave in and decided that I would get back into producing some music.

I decided to upgrade to the latest Cubase version, which was a mistake because I couldn’t get the new version to work properly. I needed someone to show me how to set it up and give me that impetus to start recording again.

I met Jermaine Nelson-Williams at a family wedding. He was going out with one of my nieces and they ended up getting married. I already knew he was a drummer and that he had his own recoding studio in his native London. Although we’d both had had quite a bit to drink we quickly settled into a chat about music. It turned out he was another Cubase user. Could this be the guy to spark me into musical action? Well, not immediately, but eventually.

Some while later he did get my Cubase working and I started to record some new songs. I took my time, concentrating on just getting the sounds recorded, not trying for any deadlines, just enjoying the process rather than putting any pressure on myself.

Through 2016 and into 2017 I built up the basics of a number of songs. I felt I was getting somewhere. In the interim I’d had several conversations with Jermaine about music. He still hadn’t heard any of my songs but he offered to have a listen and maybe get involved if we both felt right about it.

Then in November 2017 Christine who had been my partner for the previous 23 years got ill. She was in hospital for two or three weeks whilst they ran a battery of tests. There was nothing conclusive and finally she was discharged with instructions to return if the symptoms reappeared.

In the next month her first grandchild Jacob was born and we had Christmas, including a family get together at our house where about 35 people turned up. Christine cooked a meal and to eat it we squeezed everyone onto the new extension to the house we’d built as an office for our business.

Christine loved it. She loved the fact that through me she had a ready-made large family and was delighted when so many came to our house to have the meal.

On January 5th 2018 Christine went back into hospital. She never came home. I was with her every day including most nights.

She died on Saturday March 10th having suffered a most horrendous, painful and debilitating illness that was eventually diagnosed as Non Hodkinson’s Lymphoma, a blood cancer.

Treatment was withdrawn from the love of my life on the previous Tuesday when we finally accepted that there was nothing more that could be done to save her. Her stomach had become hugely bloated, her hair was falling out from the chemotherapy and she was utterly depleted from the illness that killed her. And yet she had never been more beautiful to me. She was my utter hero. I was in total awe of the way she had not only fought the illness but the bravery and kindness she had shown throughout.

Christine’s first thought had always been not for herself, but for others and she demonstrated this quality day after day as her life was cruelly taken away from her by a vicious disease.

As I sit here four and half years later with the tears streaming down my face those memories are still as raw as ever. I am both wracked with sorrow for her death and total admiration for the way she dealt with it.

I wanted to do something that would mark her life and acknowledge her passing. I started a Just Giving page and it raised thousands of pounds. But I also had a musical idea. The previous year I had written a song called Your Guardian Angel. The concept behind the song was that if I died before Christine I promised I would always be her guardian angel. I’d got the basic idea recorded but the song was far from complete. If I changed the words around could it be a fitting testament to Christine?

I spoke to Jermaine and asked him if he would help by producing the song. There was just one condition I asked of him. I asked him to be honest with me and if he felt the song didn’t have enough quality then I wouldn’t take it any further. He listened to it and told me that if we worked on it he felt it was more than good enough. I determined that I would do whatever it took to get it ready to play at Christine’s funeral.

Working on the song was both cathartic and harrowing. I had a goal with a firm deadline, I wanted it to be the last song we played at the crematorium. I gave Jermaine the song without percussion and he added a great drum part and then produced it – the first properly produced song I’d ever written.

My Guardian Angel was the last song we played at Christine’s funeral. I felt as if a lifetime of messing about with music finally had some meaning. It was my tribute to her, the final thing I could do for her after she had given so much to me.

I later released the song on the streaming services and also on CD. It raised yet more money and awareness for the Blood Cancer UK charity that we’d previously raised money for through the Just Giving page.

My Guardian Angel was also the spark that galvanised me into creating and releasing my first publicly available music, this website and everything that surrounds it. In the end it was Christine who triggered all of this, I hope she likes what I’ve done. I’d love to think that she knows that I couldn’t have done any of this without her.

Click here to listen to My Guardian Angel

Click here to watch the My Guardian Angel – Christine’s Story video

(Picture – Christine, the love of my life, out in the fields that surround our home)

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