Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland boy unable to speak after op is online sensation signing along to George Ezra

Little James McBride with proud mum Anne Marie
Little James McBride with proud mum Anne Marie
George Ezra
Donna Deeney

By Donna Deeney

A three-year-old boy has become a hit on social media after his mum posted a video of him signing along to George Ezra's hit Shotgun.

James McBride from Londonderry was born with health issues, including a very narrow airway.

Surgeons performed a tracheotomy when he was just five weeks old that saved his life.

However, it means he cannot talk for now.

Since he was six months James has been learning Makaton sign language, which allows him not only to communicate with his family, including big sister Anna (5), but also allows him to indulge in his love of music.

Mum Anne Marie recently posted a video on Twitter of James signing Shotgun in the hope that Ezra (below) might see it.

Almost 500,000 people have viewed, shared or commented on the video including renowned composer Frank Gallagher, who brought it to the attention of Ezra's people.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph yesterday, Anne Marie said she had been overwhelmed by the reaction.

"I have been amazed at the response to the video I posted of James signing to George Ezra," she said.

And she revealed a signed photograph from Ezra arrived in the post this week thanks to Gallagher, who knows the singer's management.

"We are over the Moon about it," added Anne Marie.

She said a number of well-known famous faces had also viewed it, among them Derry Girls' actress Jamie Lee O'Donnell, composer Phil Coulter and TV star and producer Roma Downey.

"I still don't know for sure if George Ezra has seen the video himself yet, but it has been watched by around half-a-million people," she added.

"I only posted the video as an after-thought because James is so happy when he is listening to music and the Makaton allows him to join in.

"Before James was born we were told he would have health complications, but it was only when he was five weeks old and about to undergo an operation on his kidneys that we found out James' airway was only one millimetre.

"He had to have an emergency tracheotomy right there, which is why he cannot talk now, but in August we are going to Great Ormond Street to hopefully reconstruct his airway. If successful it will mean he will be able to talk.

"When James was five months we also found out he has issues with heart, so he has been through so much.

"Despite everything that he has had to deal with, James is a great wee boy who loves music and dancing with his sister.

"It is all fun for James, he loves it and enjoys that he can join us and it has been amazing that so many other people have loved seeing James. We are still hoping that George will let us know he has seen the video too."

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