Reaction to Jonny’s song stuns heartbroken East Preston family

Jonny Walker, 21, pictured with Gazette front page inset from last month
Jonny Walker, 21, pictured with Gazette front page inset from last month

THE grieving family of a courageous East Preston man, who wrote a charity single while on his deathbed, has spoken of the public’s ‘fabulous’ reaction to his inspirational melody.

On Sunday (December 7), the song written by music-lover Jonny Walker, 21, was released on iTunes and online retailers Amazon.

The Gazette's front page when it broke the story

The Gazette's front page when it broke the story

Jonny, a former student at The Angmering School, had crafted the tune just weeks before he lost his valiant battle with cancer.

Now, his family has reacted to the Gazette community’s response to a ‘brave’ young musician who was ‘excited’ by his big break.

Speaking to the Gazette on Monday (December 8), Jonny’s mother Dymphna, of Golden Avenue, said: “It’s been a fabulous response and we’re hoping to get everyone behind it.

“I have got a very large Irish family that I know is fully behind us.

“Everyone is just so excited by it all and we’re going to try and get the song into the top ten.

“But the next two weeks are really crucial.”

Jonny’s song, Small Change, Change Lives, features the vocals of former X Factor star Jonjo Kerr, who is supported by a branch of the Military Wives Choir, boys’ choirs from across the UK and New Zealand and other talented musicians.

It was recorded to support charity the Friday Foundation and will be raising money for Bowel Cancer UK, Diabetes UK, the British Heart Foundation and mental health charity MIND.

The exact figure of how many times the song has been downloaded isn’t yet known. However, hundreds of people have watched the music video on YouTube, which has received an overwhelmingly positive response.

The four-minute film features all those who helped in the project, as well as friends, family, and Jonny’s beloved girlfriend of three years, Lizzie Smith.

Jonny’s former school has got also behind the scheme by playing it during break and lunch and encouraging students to download it.

Head teacher David Brixey is urging Gazette readers to get behind the story.

He said: “Jonny is well remembered in school. He was a very keen and talented musician who took part in many concerts in his time at the Angmering School. He is remembered as funny, warm and generous.

“This lovely record showcases Jonny’s lyric writing but also shows how warmly he is remembered by family and friends.”

Family friend, John Balsdon, of East Preston, helped arranged the recording.

He felt the response had been ‘really encouraging’ and said: “The reaction to the story and the song has been that we have touched people’s hearts – people have described it as ‘lovely’, ‘beautiful’ and that ‘Jonny would be proud’.”

The single is on sale for 99p. To view the video, click here or search ‘Small Change, Change Lives’ on Facebook.

Jonny’s father, Mac, said: “It’s just 99p which is not even the price of a Wimpy or a McDonald’s!”