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Dad of young boy with rare genetic disorder says he is 'blown away' by the success of Will Grigg's On Fire charity song

By Allan Preston

Published 02/06/2016

Will Grigg celebrates scoring his first goal for Northern Ireland last week
Will Grigg celebrates scoring his first goal for Northern Ireland last week
Seven-year-old Wigan fan Joe Kendrick

With the unexpected smash hit Will Grigg's On Fire staying in the top 10 of the UK singles chart, the father of the young boy the charity single is helping has said he has been "blown away" by the support.

The ode to the Northern Ireland striker, sung to the tune of Gala's 1997 hit Freed From Desire, was released on Tuesday and has already climbed to the number seven slot in the charts, beating Beyonce and Little Mix.

The song began life as a chant at Will Grigg's home club Wigan Athletic, and is now raising money for seven-year-old Wigan fan Joe Kendrick (below), who suffers from an extremely rare genetic disorder called NKH.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Joe's father Paul Kendrick said: "We've just been blown away by the interest that it has generated. From a charity point of view, it's just incredible. However much money it raises will do so much good."

Over the past three years, the charity Joseph's Goal has raised around £300,000 to research treatments for NKH, which severely affects mental and physical development.

Mr Kendrick said that when his son was born, doctors told him they only expected the boy to live for days, but "he recently turned seven so he is a real fighter and inspiration to us all".

"Unfortunately, with the nature of his condition, he's basically like a newborn baby in a seven-year-old body," Mr Kendrick added. "He can't talk or walk and we're just keeping him as stable as we can. Hopefully, he's aware (of the song) somewhere inside.

"It's just incredible... the power of something so simple when everyone gets on board with it."

With the tune taken to heart in stadiums, dressing rooms - and even being sung with gusto by football fans in Belfast nightclubs such as the Limelight - Will Grigg's On Fire has even come to the attention of the composer, Italian pop singer Gala.

Wigan Athletic supporter Sean Kennedy, who originally filmed fans singing the tribute to their top goal scorer, contacted Gala to explain.

Gala said: "This guy from England called me and said, 'Your song has become my favourite chant ever. I listen to many of these football chants, but this one is my favourite one'.

"I don't follow football so much, but I said, 'If you tell me it's good, I trust that it's good'."

The 43-year-old added that the original song - with the chorus "Freed From Desire" - was based on a Buddhist concept intended to "save the world".

The dance anthem conquered charts across Europe when it was released in 1996, hitting Number One in several countries.

Coincidentally, Gala is scheduled to be in Europe this month as Northern Ireland start their Euro 2016 campaign.

"I dream to come to the stadium and sing it and be there," Gala said.

Belfast Telegraph

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