Skip to content

Young cancer sufferers say thank you to charity with fundraising gig

Two young musicians helped by a children's cancer charity are performing their own songs as part of a major London fundraiser ...

Two young musicians who credit children's cancer charity CLIC Sargent with helping improve their lives will perform self-penned songs on a bill with top acts to raise funds for the children’s cancer charity.

Singer-songwriter Tom Barber, 24, had leukaemia as a child and, while he has been free of cancer for nearly 15 years, looking back he can see that it has had a significant impact on his life.

He will perform his song Whisper at Mahogany Presents: One Night, Ten Artists at the Union Chapel in Islington on Saturday 22 March.

Tom, who wrote the song to play alongside cover versions at gigs while at university in Durham, says that, although the song isn’t specifically about cancer, his experience expressed itself through the writing process.

He said: “The song’s about our dreams and our ambitions. Cancer is the kind of thing that can put those dreams on hold, or take them away altogether. Even with the best intentions people can place limitations on you; the real problem starts when you place those on yourself.

“Whisper is about that process of working out what it is you want to do and pushing until you get there. A lot of the limitations I imposed on myself were to do with physical endurance and CLIC Sargent helped me to really challenge those. I’ve confirmed to myself and others that I’m capable of more than I thought I was, and realised some of my ambitions in the process.

“Cancer has definitely had an impact on my life but it doesn’t define me. It has much less of an impact on me now than it ever has, but I can’t deny that it’s part of who I am.”

Tom, who is originally from Bath but now lives in Chiswick, West London, where he works as an Assistant Minister for Worship at Christ Church, Turnham Green, showcased Whisper at last year’s CLIC Sargent Music Workshop. The week-long workshop featured young people supported by the children's cancer charity working alongside professional musicians. Tom will release the song as a single in March.

He added: “CLIC Sargent have been an amazing support to me and my family, both whilst I was ill and in the time since. I’ve been supporting and representing CLIC Sargent over the last few years, but I really feel that this could be a big opportunity to give something back. All proceeds from the single will be going to CLIC Sargent, and I really hope that through it I’ll be able to help them support others in the way they’ve supported me.”

Sim Pattison’s girlfriend Eleanor Sedgwick, 19, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma two years ago and is now in remission. She was supported by a CLIC Sargent social worker during her treatment at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge and Sim wrote and recorded a song about the experience.

Sim, 20, who lives in Needham Market, near Ipswich in Suffolk, said: “At the time of the diagnosis I was just starting a music course so I had just started writing songs. Ellie's Song was the second song I had ever written.

“It was obviously a very hard time in the lives of everyone involved with Ellie. Every song-writing piece of advice I had been given was to write about personal experiences and, even though it was a hard time, I wrote down all of my feelings and made it into a song.

“As hopeless as I felt watching a loved-one going through cancer, it felt like something I could do to help.”

More performers, including the headline act, will be announced over the course of the next few weeks. Confirmed so far are former Razorlight lead singer Johnny Borrell, Emily and The Woods + Top Secret Acts + Natty + Rachel Sermanni + Newton Faulkner.

Tickets are available online and 100 per cent of the show’s profit will go to CLIC Sargent.

Get more inspiring reading

To find back issues of the INSPIRE mini-mag - seasonal and themed issues - go to