Let’s turn brave East Preston man’s song into a Christmas miracle

Jonny Walker, 21 SUS-141125-161748001
Jonny Walker, 21 SUS-141125-161748001

IT WAS the final act of a courageous young man from East Preston before he lost his valiant battle with cancer.

But now the memory of 21-year-old Jonny Walker, a talented musician of Golden Avenue, is set to be immortalised in a charity single – which he helped to write just weeks before dying.

A branch of the Military Wives choir performing while recording Jonny's song SUS-140312-101906001

A branch of the Military Wives choir performing while recording Jonny's song SUS-140312-101906001

Jonny, a former student at The Angmering School, wrote the lyrics to Small Change, Change Lives – which his family hopes will be a contender for the Christmas number one.

The single, which will be released on iTunes later this month, features the vocals of X-Factor star and soldier-turned-singer Jonjo Kerr, supported by the Military Wives Choir, boys’ choirs from across the UK and New Zealand and other talented musicians – all of whom joined the project after hearing of Jonny’s inspirational fight for survival.

Now, his loving parents Dymphna and Mac Walker have paid tribute to their brave son.

Mrs Walker said: “He was upbeat and nothing would ever get him down. He was so, so brave but had a great sense of humour. Music was his whole life. This was a big moment for him. He was totally excited by it. It could have been his big break.”

Dymphna Walker and a friend sharing pictures of Jonny

Dymphna Walker and a friend sharing pictures of Jonny

The project was set up by the Friday Foundation, with trustees Dr Andrew Douglas and Neil Welch enlisting the help of East Preston man and family friend of the Walkers, John Balsdon.

While searching for a lyricist to help create the song, Mr Balsdon’s daughter, Vicky told him about her friend Jonny, who she went to school with as a teenager.

Mr Balsdon said: “Vicky told us how talented Jonny was and said that he really was the man for the job.”

Despite being seriously ill, Jonny accepted the challenge and went about recording a demo of the song with his dad.

Mr Walker said: “He liked everyone and everyone liked him. His courage helped to galvanise people.”

The full song was recorded at Hertfordshire University, where Vicky studies.

Jonny had first been diagnosed with bowel cancer at the tender age of just 19.

However, in spite of the shocking diagnosis, Jonny refused to let it beat him.

He continued as best he could with his studies eventually overcoming the disease.

However, in July this year it came back with a vengeance, and despite his resilience and determination, Jonny eventually succumbed to the illness, dying on October 20, surrounded by his family.

Tragically, he never heard the finished product of his hard work which inspired so many other people.

But the demo he recorded alongside his dad was added to the end of the song as a last tribute to him.

The single he helped write will be raising cash to support a range of charities dealing with the ‘big four’ killers; cancer, diabetes, heart disease and neurodegenerative conditions.

Mrs Walker said Jonny had a thirst to help others and that he’d been inspired by the story of young cancer patient Stephen Sutton, 19, who before dying raised an incredible £3.2million for charity. She said Jonny undertook his own fundraising events and had arranged a charity gig with his band that went ahead, posthumously earlier this month at Bar 42 in Worthing.

Small Change, Change Lives is available to download on December 7 on iTunes. To donate to a separate charitable fund, via Just Giving, text SCCL05 £5 to 70070.

Mr Walker added that Jonny’s passion for music started at an early age.

“He has been writing songs since he was 11 and has left a huge legacy behind.”

The family hopes to some day publish some of Jonny’s musical catalogue.