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NHS heroes from Leicester on star-studded charity single

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Two NHS heroes from Leicester have joined the likes of Tony Hadley, boyband Blue, UB40 and Beverley Knight to record a charity single to raise funds for healthcare charities across the UK.

Ambulance technician Kuldip Singh Bhamrah from East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS), and Vicky Cartwright, ward matron at University Hospitals of Leicester were invited to the iconic Abbey Road Studios in London to record the Beatles classic With a Little Help from My Friends.

The charity single, due to be released on 6 July as part of the NHS’s 70th birthday, includes dozens of NHS heroes who have dedicated their lives to the health service – and Kuldip and Vicky were specially selected to appear on the track.

A 90-minute special on ITV documenting the creation of the charity single will also be shown on 4 July, followed by a world record attempt to host the biggest live singalong. Kuldip and Vicky, who live and work in Leicester, were specially selected to be part of the single due to their singing experience.

Kuldip, 65, based at Goodwood station and who has been in the service for 37 years, is well known throughout Leicestershire as ‘the singing ambulanceman’.

In his younger years, he was also in two bands – ‘KS Bamrah & Party’ and Awaaz Group – which released several EPs and albums throughout the 70s and 80s.

Kuldip, the first Sikh ambulanceman in the East Midlands and recipient of the Queen’s Ambulance Medal, still sings to many of his patients and while he is working, as well as at events and at his temple to raise money for community defibrillators and local charities.

He said: “I can’t help but sing at work because it is a job that makes me happy because I like caring for people. Singing to them also helps to relax patients. – especially when I serenade them on the way to hospital.”

In 2016, Vicky (41) based at Leicester Royal Infirmary hospital, created a rap about hand hygiene. She came up with the idea driving home from work. Leicester’s Hospitals has used the rap in staff campaigns including staff inductions. Other Trusts from around the country have also used the rap.

Vicky started her NHS career in 1998 and began working at Leicester’s Hospitals in 2002 as a staff nurse. More recently she has been promoted to matron.  Vicky is passionate about hand hygiene and gained a Master in Science (MSc) in Advancing Professional Practice.

Vicky said: “I came up with this rap because hand hygiene is very important, especially in healthcare, and thought this would be a fun and memorable way to remind both staff and patients. I’m really grateful to everyone who helped to make my rap come to life! In my role as matron I often break into the rap as a reminder.”

Kuldip and Vicky explained that being invited down to Abbey Road Studios to sing with celebrities from the last seven decades was a surreal but fantastic experience.

Kuldip said: “I felt like a celebrity – we were picked up in a car and I was interviewed by Sara Cox.

“Then we walked in and could see Tony Hadley in the recording studio, but there were lots of other people I recognised too – the members of Blue, Ashley from Diversity and Kimberley Walsh.

“What was really strange was that people came up to me and said ‘You’re Kuldip, the singing ambulanceman – I’ve heard all about you.’

“Singing with everyone brought back lots of memories of my days in the band.

“It was absolutely thrilling and a real dream come true.

“We just need everyone to buy the record now so that we can raise enough money to help those who need it. It’s in the hands of the public now.”

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Vicky said: “We didn’t know that we were going to Abbey Road studios to record the single. Meeting and singing with so many famous faces and NHS staff from around the country was so empowering. To be part of something this special has been the highlight of my year. It has been amazing and a fantastic way to say thank you and Happy Birthday to the NHS!

The ITV documentary will be presented by Ashley Banjo and Sara Cox and aims to capture all the excitement of the recording of a charity with an array of stars including Seal, Beverley Knight, Guy Garvey and many more. 

Tony Hadley, who rose to fame as the lead singer of Spandau Ballet and is one of the celebrities on the charity single, said he enjoyed meeting Vicky and Kuldip.

He said: ““Kuldip and Vicky are both very passionate about the NHS and it was great to hear how they bring music into their day jobs.

“Being part of the NHS 70 single with them is a privilege!” 

The show will hear exceptional stories from right across the NHS, meet extraordinary patients and NHS staff and deliver plenty of surprises and feelgood moments up and down the country’s hospitals as they aim to recruit thousands of voices to swell the ranks of the Big NHS Singalong choir.

This latest mission into the charts follows the NHS Choir’s 2015 hit single ‘A Bridge Over You’, which beat Justin Bieber to that year’s UK Christmas number one spot.

The charity single will be released on 6 July. All proceeds will go to the NHS Charities Together, a group of more than 100 NHS charities that have come together to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the NHS and raise awareness of the work that NHS charities do to support the NHS.

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