Talented teenager Harry Gardner is re-releasing his charity single Not Alone for Alzheimer’s Research UK after taking the nation by storm on Britain’s Got Talent earlier this year:
This comes at the same time as the 17-year-old is shortlisted for this year’s Pride of Britain Young Fundraiser award within his region, East Anglia (East).
Harry, whose heartbreaking song about his nan went viral for the charity last year, got a standing ovation after performing it on Britain’s Got Talent earlier this year. After huge demand for his single to be re-released, he has recorded a new version of Not Alone for the UK’s leading dementia research charity.
He said: “I wanted to re-release Not Alone after my experience on Britain’s Got Talent. I couldn’t believe the response I got from people after my time on the show – I got so much support and so many people asking where they can get the single so I decided to re-record it as my voice has changed so much since the first recording.”
Britain’s Got Talent judge Simon Cowell described Harry as a ‘talented songwriter’ after the performance of his song was aired to the nation in May. Meanwhile, fellow judge Amanda Holden and presenter Ant McPartlin were moved to tears by his performance.
Not Alone was written in honour of his nan Maureen McGuinness, who died from Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 77 in April, shortly after Harry’s audition.
Before she died Maureen was cared for at her home in Ongar, Essex, by Harry’s doting grandad Owen.
The young musician was left shocked and upset after visiting his nan last year and seeing her rapid deterioration with the disease.
That evening Harry, who lives in Chelmsford, Essex, stayed up until 2am writing the song, which has raised more than £14,000 (with Gift Aid) for Alzheimer’s Research UK’s pioneering research projects into preventions and treatments for dementia.
Harry, who is currently taking his A-levels, said: “My nan’s Alzheimer’s hit me quite hard so I went away and put my thoughts and feelings down on paper and ended up with Not Alone.
“The tune and lyrics fell into place quickly. I explained all the things we did together, like when she brought chocolate when she visited, and ruffled my hair, telling me how bad it was.
“I decided to use the song to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK because research is what’s needed to find a cure. I hope one day no one has to say goodbye to their nan because of dementia.”
Maureen had to give up her Sainsbury’s checkout job when she was unable to cope with counting money, and it was playing a game of Scrabble that her daughter Gail, Harry’s mum, first noticed the symptoms.
Gail said: “It hit us hard when mum started showing the first symptoms of dementia so I found it so hard to listen to Harry’s song at first, I was too emotional. I got him to record it on a CD and listened to it in the car with my sister on the way to visit my mum. We cried the whole way.
“We are so proud of how far Harry has come and how determined he is to raise as much as he can for Alzheimer’s Research UK.”
Last year Harry was made a Champion of Alzheimer’s Research UK, an accolade given to those who have gone above and beyond to raise funds and awareness for the charity. He hopes his new single will help him reach his fundraising target of £25,000 and raise awareness of dementia, especially with teenagers and young adults.
Harry said: “I would love people to buy the single, whether they have personal experience of dementia or because it has moved them. We need to raise money and spread the word about dementia and the importance of research to help find a cure.”
Harry lives with his mum and his dad John, and siblings Molly, 19, Oliver, 14, and Gene, nine, at their home in Chelmsford, Essex.
Tim Parry, Director at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “Harry continues to amaze us with his commitment to raising awareness of dementia and vital funds for research. Supporters like Harry are key to helping us bring about a life-changing dementia treatment by 2025 so we can’t thank him enough for all he has done for us.
“He is a great role model and inspiration to young people and we are delighted he has decided to re-release his single Not Alone.
You can buy Not Alone here: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/not-alone-single/id1297065078
All proceeds from the single will go directly to Alzheimer’s Research UK.
To donate to Harry’s fundraising page go to http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/HarryGardnerMusic