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27th July 2020

Trish Penrose

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Although she’s most famous for her portrayal of Gina in hit TV series Heartbeat, Trish Penrose has also been a proud ambassador of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation for many years. When the coronavirus outbreak hit, she knew something had to be done to help charities during the pandemic, so got a few special friends onboard to do something special.

“I used to sing in the clubs with my mum for years in and round Liverpool at all the social clubs when I was about 14 or 15. My mum was only 15 when she had me, she was still a youngster herself. It was great. We had our moments, but we were more like sisters and we were called Second Image. Everybody knew use because it was unique to have a mother/daughter act and we were performing three or four times a week.

When Mum was diagnosed with lung cancer it made us even closer. It started with Mum being admitted to hospital with pneumonia, which was bad enough, but then scans showed she also had a large tumour on her lung. We were told she didn’t have long to live.

Fortunately, they offered us a trial drug. Mum just said she was going to die anyway so she wanted to take a chance. The treatment took her to deaths door, and she was very poorly in hospital for a couple of weeks but then she just picked up. She went from only having a few weeks to living for another six years, which was incredible.

During the later stages of her life, Mum told me she’d love to do a CD with me even though she was on oxygen. I paid for us to go to a studio in Manchester and we did it! I can still picture us in the studio now. It was the studio owned by the husband of Beverley Callard who plays Liz McDonald in Coronation Street, and it was a great little day out. Mum loved every minute of it, it gave her massive boost. We kept up having to stop whilst she got her breath back as she became breathless, but she sounds brilliant.

Mum passed away on Valentine’s Day in 2017.

Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation became very close to my heart. Whilst she had lung cancer, my mum came to many of their charity dos and she absolutely loved it.

I released a song called “You Had a Dream in your Heart” for Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation’s 25th anniversary five years ago, written by the charity founder Professor Ray Donnelly. It was such a lovely track and it actually got to number one on the iTunes charts which was amazing.

Myself and a good friend, Gaynor Morgan who was in a band called 90% Angel and daughter to Manchester United player Willie Morgan, had been talking about releasing a song together for a while, but when the coronavirus outbreak happened we knew that charities were going to take a huge financial hit, so we decided to just go for it to help support them.

It wasn’t easy trying to record a song whilst abiding to lockdown restrictions, but fortunately a friend of ours called Greg Morton, who has a studio outside of Manchester, put some tents together and soundproofed it all, so we actually recorded on separate days in a tent! It was far from the glamorous image many people have of song recording.”

We were fortunate to have the track produced by Pete Hammond who has done a lot of work previously with huge stars such as Kylie Minogue and Robbie Williams. Coincidently, he was listening to Gaynor’s radio show and she was talking about it this prior to us finalising details and volunteered to get involved, and we all came up with the idea of singing the track You to Me are Everything by the band The Real Thing. It’s a great song and was a massive hit when it was out was it 40 years ago, reaching number one in the charts. Pete loved the idea of making a modern take on the track.

Then, somehow, we managed to get Steve Norman from Spandau Ballet to get involved. Although we’re both friends with Steve we didn’t think there was any chance he would get involved as he’s so famous, but when he replied after Gaynor got in touch his PR company, we couldn’t believe it!

When we heard his saxophone solo for the first time once it had been put together, we were stunned how incredible it sounded. The track was completed after Justin Leeming from JGL Create gave his time to do all the artwork for the single.

Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation is very close to my heart after my mum died of lung cancer. It’s an amazing charity.

I recently received a lovely email Professor Ray Donnelly and he’s so happy with the song. They are so thankful that I’m giving the proceeds to the charity.

Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation is very close to my heart after my mum died of lung cancer. It’s an amazing charity and I support them all the way. It would be great if people can put their hands in the pocket and buy the song. It’s not a lot of money to donate, and all of the money raised will be going to three fantastic charities which have suffered in lockdown. So many people have been affected during the pandemic so it’s going to be really good for the charities back on track.”

The song is available to download now from iTunes at https://music.apple.com/gb/album/you-to-me-are-everything-feat-steve-norman-single/1522798844 with proceeds being split between Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, Beechwood Cancer Care and Breast Cancer Now.