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Thatcham man's coronavirus lockdown song raises thousands for Cancer Research

Josh Smith's Hold You Tight was written for terminally ill relative during pandemic

John Herring

John Herring


01635 886633

Thatcham man's coronavirus lockdown song raises thousands for Cancer Research

“I DREAM of the day when we can keep this screen away, for now I call to God and pray to see your face again, and hope that I can hold you tight before you say your last goodnight”. 

The poignant lyrics of Thatcham songwriter Josh Smith have struck a chord with people in lockdown, with the song raising thousands of pounds for charity. 

Hold You Tight is told from the perspective of Mr Smith’s mother Sue, who, because of lockdown, was unable to visit or hug her brother David Turner, who has terminal cancer.

The song has been viewed more than 32,000 times and shared hundreds of times after being posted on Sound Cloud and Facebook, and played on Kennet Radio.

The song has raised £2,000 for Cancer Research and for Mr Turner’s local hospice in Lancashire.

He said: “I wanted to write a song that people could relate to in lockdown… how everyone wanted to see their loved ones, but they couldn’t because of the restrictions, and if they did see them it would be high risk anyway.

“I just wanted to basically get a song across for people in that situation.

“While I was doing that I thought it would be good to raise some money at the same time.”

Mr Smith wrote the song in a week and recorded it at home as he was off work from The Unruly barbers in Newbury following lockdown.

He said: “I wasn’t working so I just dedicated every day for seven days, just getting up early and writing all day trying to get it right.

“I thought in my head it would only go as far as family and friends, but after 24 hours it had reached over 1,000.

“It was amazing to see the views rocket up, reaching 32,000 and the amazing, positive feedback from everyone.

“It seemed to touch a lot of people, which is exactly what I wanted and it was really nice to see that. 

Mr Smith said his uncle had been brought to tears when he heard the song. 

He said: “He’s had more treatment and he’s doing all right now, but at the time it was he could go any day.

“I just wanted to push the song out there and get it done as quick as I could. I wanted him to hear it in case the worst did happen and he never got a chance.”

The song has resonated with people in lockdown, with Mr Smith saying that some had said they had cried on hearing it.

“I didn’t realise that it would hit people as hard as it did, but I was happy that it had that effect,” he said. 

“I just wanted to write something that would really resonate as well. 

“I was shocked at how well it has done, but I’m extremely excited and absolutely buzzing off it.

“It just made me want to write another song to be honest.”

Mr Smith has written three more songs and has tried to carry the same theme across each.  

His mother Sue said she was amazed at the song’s reception.

She said that she and her brother were very close “even though he’s in Lancashire – whenever we say goodbye or hello we hug each other quite tightly”.

She said: “I said to Josh ‘it’s really sad there’s a lot of people in Covid who will have the same and they might not hug their relatives again – they’ll see them but they won’t hug them’.”

She said her brother had been choked up when he heard it and that he knew the song would be around after he died to remember him by.

She said: “We just thought people would really resonate with it.

“It  was quite near the beginning of Covid and we weren’t sure how long it was going to go on for.”

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