Kathy Baldwin is a Community Nurse Specialist with the Specialist Community and Crisis Support team.
She was among the 300 patients, staff and volunteers from 18 London hospices who came together to record their version of the poignant 1980s hit The Living Years by Mike and the Mechanics.
We asked Kathy some questions about the exciting project and what it means to her. This is what she had to say:
1) How did you come to get involved with the Christmas single?
I have been singing with the Saint Francis Hospice choir since it began a few years ago and jumped at the opportunity to be involved when we were invited to take part over the summer.
2) What made you want to take part?
Singing has always been a really important part of my life and to be able to combine something which gives me so much pleasure for such a worthwhile cause celebrating hospice care was not to be missed!
3) How long did you have to rehearse ahead of the recording?
We spent an evening at Saint Francis learning our parts and then 300 singers from 18 London hospices joined together rehearsing with Jim Hawkins for a fantastic day in Kingston on Thames in early September.
4) Did you enjoy filming the music video?
Fortunately, it was a lovely sunny day in October so we could be outside although after four hours we were a little chilly! I was a little wary of cameramen walking past me as I don't really like my picture being taken, but I hope you agree the final result is lovely and well worth the time taken.
5) What has been your favourite part of the project?
Being able to enjoy the whole experience, from rehearsing together, working with a fantastic musical director, followed by our recording session at Abbey Road Studios and topping it off by taking part in my first ever music video!
6) What was it like working with other hospices?
Singing together with so many people is just so much fun and takes on a special meaning when you know the end result is for such a great cause. It was lovely to be able to share with so many people who share our passion for caring for those with life limiting illness.
7) How would you celebrate if the song did get to number one?
I hadn't really thought about that before but apparently the odds are now in our favour for a Christmas number 1 which is really exciting! If we are successful it will be a real testament to Jim and so many others who have supported the project and given of their time, energy and expertise on our behalf. There will definitely be a big celebration I'm sure!
8) What led you to become a supporter of Saint Francis Hospice?
I have always wanted to be involved in palliative care, even from when I was a student nurse over 30 years ago. I have been very privileged to work as a nurse at Saint Francis Hospice for the last 10 years, formerly on the Inpatient Unit and now as a member of the Specialist Community and Crisis Support team.
9) Why would you encourage people to join you in supporting the hospice?
There are many many people working at Saint Francis Hospice, both paid and volunteer staff giving their time and energy to providing the best possible expert care and support that they can for local people with palliative care needs and for their families too.
We cover a large area, including Brentwood, Havering, Barking and Dagenham and Redbridge. It is a tremendous privilege to do so, but we rely so much on the support of our local community to be able to continue the work we do.
There are lots of ways that people can help us, but supporting the choir and buying a copy of the London Hospices Choir song is an easy way to help to raise the awareness of hospice care throughout London, raise funds for your local hospice and make our choir members very happy into the bargain!
Kathy (back row second from left) with SFH choir members who recorded the single