Wigan musician teams up with hospice patients for project to write and record songs

Bob Kettle with Roy and Barbara Dainty and Bert Thompson
Bob Kettle with Roy and Barbara Dainty and Bert Thompson

Patients at the borough’s hospice are teaming up with a well-known Wigan musician in a project to produce songs about their experiences.

Bob Kettle, best known for his role in popular folk-rockers Merry Hell, has teamed up with Wigan and Leigh Hospice (WLH) to write songs with three people using the charity’s Oak Centre day service.

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The lyrics to the tracks come from conversations with three patients and express their personal likes and dislikes, thoughts and feelings.

Two of them have now also been recorded at The Music Projects studio in Pemberton.

We Can Be One, a song written with 72-year-old Hindley Green great-grandad Roy Dainty, and I Love You penned with Bert Thompson were committed to disc this week. A third track, Don’t Lie To Me, has already been recorded.

The songs were created over the course of two months.

Bob, 52, said: “I came in to the Oak Centre for an open day and I didn’t know what to expect but I loved the atmosphere.

“I thought I would like to work there because what I do would be helpful for the people that use it.

“I have six years’ experience of facilitating music projects for socially marginalised people through Healthy Arts which is an organisation that uses artistic activities to promote wellbeing.

“It was through them that I got in touch with Cartwheel Arts which gives small grants to support projects of that kind.

“I’ve sat down with all three of them and we’ve had one-to-one conversations in which they’ve told me about their lives, their opinions and what kinds of music they like.

“After that I went away then used what they’d told me to write music and lyrics. Then I came back to see them again and played their song for each of them to see if it was a fair representation of their feelings.

“The idea is that they will all have a professional quality recording of the song they have inspired.

“They can have it for their own satisfaction and share it with friends and family but the ultimate goal is that we end up with three songs that each of them love.”

Roy has been attending the Oak Centre since October 2018 and is battling lung disease COPD and condition emphysema.

His song is about peace and reuniting a divided world, taking cues from one of his favourite American musicians.

He said: “When we sat down together we talked about what I think of the world, how it should be and who should be in charge. That is what the song is all about and it’s in a Bob Dylan style.

“I think it’s incredible how Bob has put it together – I talked and he wrote and underlined things as we went – and I thought he must be a clever chap.

“I’m really happy with the song.”

Roy and Bert were at the studio and Roy and wife Barbara sang along on his track.