‘Thank You for Being a Friend’ set to connect nation and thank army of carers
Singing legend, Tony Christie, who announced in January that he had been diagnosed with dementia, has today [Tuesday 11 April] unveiled plans to record ‘Thank You for Being a Friend’ on behalf of the Music for Dementia campaign for Thank You Day 2023.
Christie, who turns 80 in April, was friends with Andrew Gold who released ‘Thank You for Being a Friend’ back in 1978. The song will become a fitting anthem for this year’s third annual Thank You Day, as the country comes together celebrate people and experiences that make each community special, and connect the nation through music.
Organisers are calling on the public to save the date – Thank You Day, Sunday 2 July – which will see ‘Thank You for Being a Friend’ sung all around the UK at festivals, street parties, care homes, community choir performances and on social media sites such as TikTok
Music for Dementia, founded and funded by The Utley Foundation, is leading the Thank You Day 2023 music activities, which will have a special focus on the unsung and often unseen army of carers. Many have changed their lives to care for people living with dementia, so they can stay in their own home, and have the best life possible.
The iconic song, ‘Thank You for Being a Friend’, was written and recorded by Gold in 1978 and was not only a top 40 hit on the Billboard Top 100, but also rewritten as the soundtrack to NBC’s comedy, The Golden Girls.
Christie is expected to have a host of special guests join him on the recording, which will be released ahead of Thank You Day as a free download.
Sunday 2 July is the UK’s third annual Thank You Day which, in 2022, brought nine million people together as friends, families and neighbours strengthened the bonds that create kinder, more connected communities. It comes hot off the heels of Eurovision, which is aiming to unite the nation through music.
This year, the day will bring the nation together to show their appreciation of the UK’s unsung heroes by giving the gift of music. Music for Dementia is leading the charge to get communities connected through music, which has the unique power to improve health and wellbeing, including for those people living with dementia where music can bring joy, stimulate memories and reduce anxiety.
If anybody knows the power music can have on people who live with dementia it is Christie and his family, who have thrown themselves behind the Thank You Day campaign with all their hearts and souls.
Christie explains: “I continue to tour as I’ve found music improves the symptoms associated with my dementia, so every time I go on stage and work it’s helping me. It’s important for me to stay positive and try not to let dementia affect my life but I still need some support. If anyone deserves a thank you it’s the UK’s unseen – and unsung – army of carers. This one is for them!
“When Music for Dementia asked me to sing Thank You for Being a Friend by my old friend Andrew Gold it really felt like the stars were aligning. It is the perfect song for a day that celebrates all the good in the world and I’m so proud to be part of it.”
The music, health and social care sectors have come together to support the Thank You Day campaign, which is encouraging people to get involved on Sunday 2 July by hosting an event, attending a local event, sharing our Thank You Day song to say thank you or listening to music with someone.
The campaign is being backed by organisations such the Music Publishers Association, which played a key role in helping secure Gold’s song for Thank You Day, Casio, Royal Albert Hall, Girlguiding, Care England, TAP Thank and Praise app, National Care Forum, Dementia Carers Count and Care Home Open Week (Championing Social Care), which will open its doors to over 1,500 care homes for musical activity on the day.
Sarah Metcalfe, MD at Music for Dementia said: “Thank You Day is about coming together to say thank you to the people that make this country so special. With lived experience of dementia, Tony embodies the power music has to improve life and bring joy, so we’re delighted he’s agreed to sing the Thank You Day anthem. We already have a host of committed partners and activations lined up and we’ll be revealing more over the coming weeks and months.”
Music offers a brilliant way to connect people and that’s why on Sunday 2 July the UK will say thank you through music. People are being invited to use music in a way that unifies and uplifts the nation, from local community choirs to festival performers to neighbourly singsongs.
“What we need now is for people to sign up and register to get involved in Thank You Day – my family and friends are already planning what they’re going to do. It’s going to be a day of celebration and we want as much of the nation to join in whatever way they can,” Christie adds.