NHS Nurses Need Your Help Now?

Every penny raised from the sale of this song and any donations made will go directly to our wonderful nurses and support staff facing personal or financial hardship hardship during the Covid-19 crisis

NHS Nurses Need Your Help Now!

Hope was written, performed and produced by

Jonathan Shirlaw & Martin Purvis

Performed vocally by Sue Rourke

and supported by members of South Downe Musical Society

For the benefit of Cavell Nurses’ Trust

No nurse ever went into nursing due to the rich monetary rewards on offer, they did it as “a calling” because they wanted to help people. Now it’s our chance to help them!

Due to the unsubstantial wages nurses receive, many nurses’ households are financially at breaking point right now due to varying reasons from partners being unable to work themselves during the Coronavirus Pandemic to extra funds needed for things such as childcare whilst they work. This is a huge extra stress our nurses simply do not need at this time when their focus must be on the daily fight at hand of saving people’s lives. This is when they turn to Cavell Nurses’ Trust.

Cavell Nurses’ Trust

Cavell Nurses’ Trust is a charitable organisation which supports the welfare of nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants in the United Kingdom. It was founded over 100 years ago in 1917 in the memory of British nurse Edith Cavell. The charities work focuses on both working and retired nurses, when they’re suffering personal or financial hardship often due to illness, disability, older age and domestic abuse.

From simple, essential support like money to repair a broken cooker or boiler, to vital life-changing aid like helping a family flee their home due to domestic abuse, Cavell Nurses’ Trust is there to help.

The charity has always been the first port of call for nurses suffering any form of financial crisis. However, the current need during this Covid-19 crisis is overwhelming for the charity and the funds that go directly to nurses in need now is quickly diminishing. We/they need your help now please!

Who was Edith Cavell?

Edith Louisa Cavell (4 December 1865 – 12 October 1915) who the charity was named after, was a British nurse. She is celebrated for saving the lives of soldiers from both sides during World War 1 without discrimination and in helping some 200 Allied soldiers escape from German-occupied Belgium during that conflict, for which she was arrested by the Germans. She was accused of treason, found guilty by a court-martial and sentenced to death. Despite international pressure for mercy, she was shot by a German firing squad. Her execution received worldwide condemnation and extensive press coverage.

The night before her execution, she said, “Patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone.” These words were later inscribed on a memorial to her near Trafalgar Square. Her strong Anglican beliefs propelled her to help all those who needed it, both German and Allied soldiers. She was quoted as saying, “I can’t stop while there are lives to be saved.” The Church of England commemorates her in its Calendar of Saints on 12 October.

Cavell, who was 49 at the time of her execution, was already notable as a pioneer of modern nursing in Belgium.

“I can’t stop while there are lives to be saved.”

Edith Cavell 1915

Sue Rourke

Sue Rourke has been nursing since the age of 18. She initially worked as a healthcare support worker in a residential home before qualifying as a registered adult nurse in 1998. She worked for 10 years in Intensive Care at the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth. Whilst there, she also qualified as a registered children’s nurse. More recently, Sue has moved into education, training student nurses as well as other health and social care students.

In 2018 Sue was diagnosed with kidney cancer and has been living with this ever since. She underwent emergency surgery in November 2018 which was hoped to be curative, however the cancer returned in early 2019. Since then Sue has been undergoing treatment aimed at prolonging her life. As a result she is shielding at home and is obviously unable to join her colleagues on the clinical frontline in the fight against Covid-19.

In her spare time Sue is a keen runner, and in October 2017 she ran the Great South Run to raise funds for the Cavell Nurses’ Trust. Sue’s other passion is obviously singing which she partakes in at every opportunity. Sue joined South Downe Musical Society in 2003 and is a leading lady with them and a number of local amateur dramatic societies in and around the Portsmouth area.

Jonathan Shirlaw & Martin Purvis

Martin Purvis and Jonathan Shirlaw in their early years on stage together

Jonathan & Martin are the guys who wrote the song “Hope”. They have been lifelong friends since they met at Oaklands School in Waterlooville at about the age of 14 when Martin joined the school and was seated next to Jonathan in History.

Jonathan Shirlaw nowadays

Whilst at school they formed their band, The Cuboids, with fellow best friends Mark Perry, Simon Smart and Mark Kerswell. The band continued for quite a few years and had a little success and following including winning the local heat of “Battle of The Bands”.

Unfortunately neither Simon Smart or Mark Kerswell are still with us but they are very fondly remembered and missed always when the remainder regularly still get together as they all stayed best of friends over the years.

Though neither play in any bands now both Jonathan & Martin still regularly collaborate as songwriters as they write musicals together as a hobby. Jonathan still performs nowadays in quite a different way as he is a member of South Downe Musical Society (Who perform the choir section on Hope) where he has been a stalwart member for over 20 years and even had a few major roles.

South Downe Musical Society

It is members of South Downe Musical Society (SDMS) who supply the choir section on “Hope” and can be seen and heard in the video backing Sue.
It goes without saying that in these days of social distancing and lockdown that recording a choir when all the members are at home is not an easy task but members of the society never run from a challenge and were up for it and we thank you all.

SDMS were formed in 1957 and since then have established themselves as a multi award winning theatre company and one of the most respected outside of London. Obviously all this years shows have had to be put on hold but hopefully you can see them performing in and around Portsmouth again from early 2021 with “Anything Goes”, “Rent” and one of the first off Westend performances of “Shrek”.

Jonathan Shirlaw has been a member of SDMS for over 20 years and it was he who actually discovered Sue Rourke belting out Karaoke songs in a Horndean pub about 15 years ago and was simply blown away by her vocal talent. He approached her about joining SDMS, which she did, and she has been one of the companies main leading ladies ever since even winning the prestigious “Guide Award” as “Best Actress in a Musical”.

The History of Hope – The Song

Jonathan and Martin (the songwriters) were working together on their latest musical and Jonathan required a new piece of music for a particular section he was working on. Martin tinkled away and came up with the piano part to what was to eventually become “Hope”. However, as much as Jonathan absolutely loved the piece, he just did not feel it was right for the musical.

Neither wanted to just discard the piece though as they both really liked it and returned to it a number of times unsuccessfully.

Jonathan decided he wanted to pen some lyrics for the music Martin had composed as a separate project as he felt it was very inspirational and uplifting and too good to waste. He showed the lyrics, which were quite different to what you hear today, to Martin and together they developed the song, and a first edition of “Hope” was born.

Once complete they had another singer, Lily Garland, lay down a vocal track but as good as the track was, they both felt it was missing a very special voice, who had recorded their music previously for them, and that voice was Sue Rourke.

Then we all know what happened, Coronavirus hit the UK!

Like so many others, Jonathan felt compelled to do what he could to help. He went straight to Martin and told him that he wanted to adapt the song for the cause and donate all the money to the nurses on the front-line. Martin did not hesitate in agreeing and with Sue Rourke being a nurse for over 25 years herself it was obvious to both that she should now sing the new version.

Sue was approached and a copy of the song in its rough form was sent over to her. Sue thought the song was beautiful and jumped at the chance to record it and plans were hastily put in place.

It turned out that Sue, like so many other nurses, had raised money in the past for Cavell Nurses’ Trust and so Jonathan approached them offering the song free of any royalties for them to use if they wanted it. They obviously did and now the ball was starting to roll. However, between them, nobody really knew what they were doing, and openly admitted it, as nobody involved had ever dreamt of releasing a song and how to go about. To quote Jonathan “I was winging it as I went along

Time to bring in the professionals. Jonathan approached Horus Music who had a history of releasing charity singles and the staff there could not have been more supportive and helpful to this naïve bunch.

Horus Music not only offered all of their services free of charge but also negotiated with all of the World’s major music platforms on Cavell’s behalf. They set up special promotional deals with all of the major music companies including itunes, Spotify, Amazon and Google and agreed a release date with all featuring the single as a premium release. They also made similar arrangements for a video release with Youtube and Vevo with every penny raised from streaming to go straight to the charity. With 200+ music platforms on board, this was amazing!

Now the huge problems started. With both a recording and a video required and the UK in lockdown, how do you make this happen? Problems were made worse for themselves as Jonathan and Martin were adamant that the song needed a choir.

Luckily, both Jonathan and Sue were members of South Downe Musical Society and an appeal was sent out to members through Facebook and the response was overwhelming with everybody making their own recordings at home and then sending them in for later editing and mixing.

Sue, who was obviously strictly self-isolating herself due to her illness, then went about recording her own vocals alone at home and sending them over. All of this process is normally pain-staking enough when everybody has the luxury of being in one location in a luxurious recording studio, but these guys were taking on the same enormous task with them all being miles from apart each other and just the phone and the internet to keep them in contact.

Whilst all this was going on, Jonathan approached an old contact he had in the theatre World, Tony Neal about helping in making the video for “Hope”. Like everyone else, Tony did not hesitate in offering his services. Tony openly admitted he was not a professional and more of a hobbyist, but he wanted to help. The two sketched out some ideas together and got as many images together as they could and then Tony spent a mammoth number of hours making it all come to life. With little professional experience, no budget at all but a hell of a lot of heart, Tony delivered the goods and on time.

Jonathan’s good friend, Nick Coomber was then approached to help with graphics to give the “new charity”, (even though it was still obviously going to be run and operated by Cavell) a new and recognisable image as well as web design. Jonathan had a strong idea of the logo he wanted to use for “Hope for Nurses” based on the old “I Love New York” logo and Nick quickly delivered.

From the moment that Jonathan and Martin decided to re-vamp the song to everything being ready for release amazingly only took about ten days and for that Cavell and all the nursing staff who will benefit from this great effort will be eternally grateful.

A Huge Thank You from Cavell Nurses’ Trust

On behalf of Cavell Nurses’ Trust and all of the nurses and support staff who will benefit from this amazing effort we obviously want to thank everyone who purchases the song and makes any donation no matter the size. Thank you all so so much.

However, we want to thank especially though the people that made it all happen.

Firstly Jonathan Shirlaw, who not only wrote those beautiful and uplifting lyrics in the first place but who has been the driving force behind this whole project. Martin Purvis for writing and performing all of the music and in the production of the final track with Jonathan. A huge thank you!

Obviously Sue Rourke, our own Singing Nurse for a voice that should be in The West End but has chosen to give her life to nursing. The West End’s loss is nursing’s gain, thank you Sue, it’s beautiful.

South Downe Musical Society members for all their effort and wonderful vocals, it truly adds a special something to an already wonderful song.

And last but by no means least, the guys working behind the scenes in the image department. First of all to Tony Neal for all the hard work we know you put into the video, it looks amazing. As does all the graphics, logo etc supplied by Nick Coomber, thank you guys

© 2020 Cavell Nurses’ Trust. Registered charity No. 116O148 and SC041453. VAT no. 300133285