Salford students join intensive care staff across the country in bid for Christmas number one

Categories: School of Health and Society

A 100 strong Zoom choir made up of intensive care unit (ICU) staff, including two students from the University of Salford, is releasing a re-make of classic Police track ‘Every Breath You Take’ in a bid to secure the Christmas number one spot and raise funds to support NHS staff.

Helen Torry and Phil Broadhurst

Known as the ICU Liberty Singers, the choir began life as an attempt to bring some fun and respite to ICU workers after the challenges of 2020. As well as students who stepped up to support the NHS during the pandemic, choir members include ICU staff such as nurses, doctors and allied health professionals who have been working on the frontline of healthcare. 

Student Helen Torry, who is currently completing her master’s in Advanced Clinical Practice at the University of Salford, saw the choir advertised on Twitter. Alongside her studies, she works in the ICU at the Royal Oldham Hospital, as a Trainee Advanced Critical Care Practitioner. 

She says: “Despite being in the final stages of my master’s I knew I couldn't ignore the tweet asking for people to join a national ICU staff choir! At first, I felt nervous and self-conscious logging on to a Zoom call where I knew no one, but I'm so glad I did it! It has been great to connect with fellow health professionals from all over the UK and even abroad. This year has been a very tough one in ICU so to feel a sense of unity and coming together to do something fun has been such a positive experience for everyone involved. 

“From simply recording on our phones at home to releasing an actual track has been quite unexpected! It has been a fast turnaround and the team involved in bringing it together have been amazing. The aim was to do something to promote health and wellbeing, which we absolutely have achieved, and a Christmas number 1 would just be an incredible cherry on the cake!”

Phil Broadhurst, who studied on the same course as Helen at the university, and who also features on the track, said: “The last thing I expected this year was to be playing a small part in the race for a Christmas number one single! I don't consider myself to be much of a singer, but it has been an honour to join with my ICU colleagues nationwide to have fun, bring joy to those working over Christmas and raise funds to provide support for the mental health and wellbeing of ICU workers who have suffered as a result of this pandemic. It's incredible that our song is now in the running to get a chart position over Christmas!”

The track comprises 200+ individual vocal recordings sung by the choir members, recorded in their own homes and then blended to create a ‘virtual choir’. 

The group are planning to take on Liam Gallagher, Jess Glynne and Robbie Williams in a bid for the top spot. All money raised will go to create a fund, managed through the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine, to provide support for staff wellbeing and mental health.

The single is to be released on Friday 18 December 2020 and will be available for download and streaming through the usual channels.

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