As millions prepare for the third annual Thank You Day – with just one month to go – organisers are planning a mass national sing-a-long set to soar well above the current UK record:
- Over 464,000 have already signed up to say thank you through music, and sing ‘Thank You For Being a Friend’ on Sunday 2 July – the current UK record is 293,000.
- Carers representing the unsung heroes across the UK join Christie in re-recording the single
- UK public invited to download free resources and warm up their vocal chords for the sing-a-long on Thank You Day
- Thank You Day 2022 saw more than 9 million people take part in events across the country
Singing legend, Tony Christie (80), has issued a rallying cry for the nation to learn and practice this year’s Thank You Day song, ‘Thank You for Being a Friend’, ahead of a mass singalong at 3pm on Sunday 2 July. Christie has recorded the classic song for Music for Dementia, with a group of specially selected carers, representing Britain’s army of unsung heroes.
More than 450,000 are already set to take part through the Girl Guides, Women’s Institute, Asda, Young Voices, community dementia choirs and 4,000 Care homes as part of Care Home Open Week. Now, to help the nation get involved and mark the first day of Volunteer’s Week, the backing track and sheet music are free to download from today (1 June) on the Thank You Day website , thanks to printed music publisher Hal Leonard, and also available from Sheet Music Direct.
Christie, who announced his dementia diagnosis earlier this year, has rerecorded the 1978 classic for the Music for Dementia campaign on behalf of Thank You Day.
The song will form the centrepiece of this year’s Thank You Day celebrations, as organisers call on the nation to get together in their communities to say a special thank you to someone who has made a difference. This year, the day has a particular focus on carers after a special poll commissioned for Thank You Day found that Britain’s army of carers are the UK’s most under thanked group.
Christie is now urging the public to really let loose on Thank You Day and belt out the anthem. He said:
“There’s only one month to go, so print off the sheet music, download the backing track, learn the song and then sing your heart out wherever you may be on Sunday 2 July. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a church, at a festival, at a picnic in the park, in your bedroom on TikTok or you host an event yourself at the park or in the pub. All that matters is that you’re part of something big and special that celebrates all the diverse people and communities that make the UK great, and gives special recognition to the brilliant carers in it.”
Christie recorded the song ten days ago in London. He was joined by a host of famous musicians, singers and producers whose names are being kept a strict secret until the song is released in late June. Alongside Tony’s celebrity band, he was joined on the recording of the song by a small orchestra from Manchester Camerata, the UKs most relentlessly pioneering orchestra and global leader in music and dementia. In addition five specially selected carers were invited to join Tony at the recording and were given the chance to add their vocals to the track at British Grove Studios, which was kindly donated for free by Mark Knopfler from Dire Straits.
Music for Dementia, founded and funded by The Utley Foundation, is leading the Thank You Day 2023 music activities. Managing Director, Sarah Metcalfe, said:
“The stories of the carers singing with Tony on the record show powerfully how music can become a lifeline for people living with dementia and their families. Thank You Day is a chance for everyone to say Thank You For Being A Friend to someone special.
“Let’s make Thank You Day the biggest singalong ever! Get ready by visiting the website to download the lyrics, sheet music and backing track for free. And dementia choirs and care homes can sign up on the Music for Dementia website for a free activity pack – including kazoos!”
The carers are:
- Gez Ossai, 58, from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire
Described as ‘an exceptional advocate for dementia care’, Gez Ossai won a national newspaper competition to sing on the record. He is the General Manager at Wentworth Court Cheltenham, which provides specialist care for people with dementia and has helped shape social reform. Gez has been involved in many debates on broadcast, social media and at conferences, and has been heavily involved in community initiatives. His work was recognised when he met the King and Queen and he was also asked to 10 Downing Street to meet the Prime Minister.
- Graeme Sutherland 31, from Glasgow, Scotland
Graeme Sutherland is a popular TikTok influencer and has used the platform to help carers feel less isolated and lonely. He started out on TikTok while caring for his mother who lives with dementia, but continues to make content while she is in residential care. Proving social media can be a great source for good, many people reach out to Graeme for advice on being a carer. He’s particularly excited to be involved as his mum is a fan of the original 1978 song.
- Zoe Antoniades, from West London, London
Nominated by Alzheimer’s Society, Zoe, 50, is an author but used to sing in jazz clubs and although she now cares for her mum, she has continued her passion for music by contributing to the Singing for the Brain group in Osterley. Zoe and her mum, Koula, have attended the group for over three years. She is now also an Alzheimer’s Society campaigner who also sings regularly for the group, both face-to-face and on Zoom.
- Therese Poteratchi, 29, from Baron’s Court, London
Therese Poteratchi represents Young Voices, the largest school choir in the world. Her grandmother Rosaleen lived with Alzheimer’s when Therese was a child and some of her fondest memories are visiting Rosaleen in a residential home and playing the piano or recorder to her and the other residents. Therese said: “Singing or playing music to my grandmother allowed my siblings and I to bond with her, despite her not recognising us. The experience has left us with positive memories of our grandmother and our visits and was one of the reasons that I studied music.”
- Katie Neal, 18, from Oxford
Katie Neal was chosen by the WI to appear on the single. As a child in the Brownies, the residents of the dementia-specialised care home would be so excited to have them visit, they would wait and wave through the windows. When Katie became a young leader of the same Brownies’ group, she visited every couple of months to get involved in music-led sessions that hugely uplifted residents, particularly at Christmas when many didn’t have visitors. More recently she has become a young voice within the WI.
To register your interest or simply find out more about Thank You Day and the wider ways you can get involved visit https://thankyouday.org.uk/music/.