Belfast Telegraph

Poetic plumber taps into music as he releases festive single to raise funds for NI Hospice

By Brett Campbell

A plumbing poet has released a charity single in a bid to raise funds for the Northern Ireland Children's Hospice.

Newtownards tradesman Cameron McIntyre (57) has already raised thousands of pounds for the specialist care facility through his poetry publications, but is now tapping into music and hopes even more cash will pour in.

He hopes his new song - 'Facebook Christmas' - will prick the conscience of listeners and encourage them to go online and donate.

"I have no idea what will happen when we put it online - but it's difficult to monetise that so I am asking everyone who hears it to go online and give whatever they can afford," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

Hard copies of the song - which offers some alternative ways to spend the holidays rather than taking selfies - will be available on CD in selected stores around the country.

And the plumber-turned-songwriter is appealing to local radio stations to get behind him.

"I want it to bug the life out of people and I want it to be played at every Christmas party across Northern Ireland," he said.

But he is also relying on social media users to share the festive video which was filmed in the Christmas Grotto at Hillmount Garden Centre and features an eclectic range of Christmas knits.

"So many people are on social media, you go into doctors' surgeries and you see people in their 70s scrolling newsfeeds," Cameron said.

"I'm not having a go at anyone, it's just the way the world is today and social media is fantastic when used in the correct way - but we have become addicted to our phones, which have become almost like a drug."

The wordsmith was inspired to write the charity single after a friend criticised his own excessive use of social media last November.

When spring arrived, and the idea failed to thaw, he began composing the catchy melody and penning the lyrics before rallying friends, including Ian and Esther McNeill, to help him out.

"I needed a sweet voice to balance out mine so I approached Esther - I knew Ian would be great on the guitar - and one thing led to another," Cameron added.

Since recording the track in Novatech Studios, Cameron has been busy editing the video, which went online yesterday.

The married father-of-two became a fundraiser for the hospice following a heartbreaking encounter with a young boy outside his home a number of years ago.

"He must have only about eight years old and he was just kicking his ball about," Cameron explained.

"I said: 'I bet you are starting to look forward to Christmas?'

"I will never forget his response, he looked at me and said, 'I'll not be here at Christmas, I'll be dead by then'; that really took me aback."

The young boy, who lived a couple of doors away from Cameron, received end-of-life care at the Children's Hospice before he passed away.

"I couldn't get over how brave he was, especially at that age - I've been involved with the hospice ever since," Cameron said.

The Christmas charity video can be viewed by clicking 'shop' on the Rec-It Facebook page where donations can also be made.

Belfast Telegraph

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