RELATIVES grieving the loss of a loved one were among those gathered for the poignant launch of a charity single by Coventry’s MOBO Award-nominated musician Sandra Godley.
National Grief Awareness Day marked the release of My Darling which is raising funds and awareness for three local charities in the wake of the pandemic – Surviving Bereavement, Molly Olly’s Wishes and Coventry and Warwickshire Mind.
In collaboration with Surviving Bereavement Founder Tracey McAtamney from Balsall Common, the event included a minute’s silence and the release of 100 white balloons bearing emotional messages, from the roof of The Telegraph Hotel in Coventry.
My Darling is a particularly heartfelt piece of work for the Bristol-born musician, Sandra, who is still grieving the loss of her own aunt to the virus in April last year.
“I am delighted that the song ‘My Darling’ is now finally released, I’ve been carrying the words of the song for over a year now.
“It was such an incredible time to be amongst friends and family on a very special day, Grief Awareness Day.
“I now want to encourage everyone to give what they can to the fundraising page to help spread the message of hope and I know the three charities involved will be very grateful for all donations received.”
Specially invited guests included Roy Hemmings, formerly of The Drifters, who lost his brother Neville in April last year.
My Darling will be played at a memorial for Neville in Birmingham.
Also releasing a balloon, in memory of her daughter Emelia, was Jessica Weeks and her family, from Coventry.
Emelia’s died in 2017 less than one hour after being born with spina bifida and anencephaly.
Jessica went on to establish Hannah’s House, a charity which provides support after the loss of a sibling to neonatal death, miscarriage and stillbirth.
Forty-year-old Jessica recalls: “Emelia was diagnosed with spina bifida and anencephaly and it was the biggest kick in the gut.
“We were told she wouldn’t make it past 20 weeks, then told 28 weeks and then that she wouldn’t survive the birth.
“But she was my fighter, my little miracle baby and she lived – and we had 57 wonderful minutes with her.”
It was in Emelia’s memory that she was invited to the launch event last week for Sandra Godley’s charity record.
My Darling, which has been produced by Matt Cossey of The Nexus Institute of Creative Arts in Coventry, is being funded by an anonymous sponsor and supported by Alsters Kelley Solicitors.
Some of the proceeds will also benefit Warwick-based charity Molly Olly’s Wishes and local mental health charity Coventry and Warwickshire Mind.
Molly Olly’s Wishes was established in 2011 following the death of Rachel and Tim Ollerenshaw’s eight-year-old daughter Molly from a rare kidney cancer.
Rachel said: “The launch of My Darling was a very special and poignant day.
“Molly Olly’s are extremely grateful for the support and thank you to Sandra, Tracey and everyone who was involved for including Molly Olly’s in this project.
“Funds raised will help us to support families at the saddest of times.”
Recognising the importance of listening to, and working with, people who have experienced mental health issues, the charity aims to provide support for those who live with and recover from a mental health problem.
This can mean providing access to information, a listening ear, or providing more specialist support and services.
Steven Hill, CEO Coventry and Warwickshire Mind, also attended the launch. He said: “It was a pleasure to be a part of the event for ‘My Darling’ – a poignant song about the loss faced by many of us over the past 18 months and highlighting its detrimental impact on our mental health.
“We’re honoured to be one of the charities chosen by Sandra Godley.
“The money raised will enable us to continue our work – ensuring that no-one faces a mental health problem on their own.”
Visit https://ditto.fm/my-darling-sandra-godley-featuring-matt-cossey to download My Darling for 79p.
Visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/mydarling to donate.