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Chester’s singing doctors aiming for Christmas chart success

Three intensive care doctors from the Countess of Chester Hospital have teamed up with colleagues from across the UK to enter this year’s Christmas chart battle.

Download the ICU Liberty Singers’ version of ‘Every breath you take’ here

Consultant intensivists Dr Kate Tizard, Dr Lyndsay Cheater and Dr Beccy Gale joined forces with other doctors, nurses, therapists and pharmacists from intensive care units all over the UK, to record a specially adapted version of The Police’s 1980s hit ‘Every breath you take’.

Proceeds from the ICU Liberty Singers’ Christmas single, which features more than 100 NHS workers in a virtual choir, will go towards a fund administered by the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine to support the mental health and wellbeing of ICU staff across the UK.

Dr Lyndsay Cheater Dr Kate Tizard Dr Beccy Gale

“Bringing intensive care professionals together has been really special,” Dr Tizard said. “It’s been really supportive to be in a group with people who have that shared experience of being on the frontline during the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s why it was so emotional when we heard this song back for the first time because the lyrics reflect what we’ve been through this year as an ICU community.”

The ICU Liberty Singers was the brainchild of community choir leader Kari Olsen-Porthouse (aka Liberty Singer) and Dr Alison Pittard, Dean of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine and Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

After such a difficult year for intensive care specialists, who have been at the forefront of the pandemic caring for the people worst affected by COVID-19, it was hoped this would end 2020 on a positive note.

For the Countess’ Dr Lyndsay Cheater, the ICU Liberty Singers gave her the opportunity to finally join a choir, which was something she had been about to do just before the pandemic started.

“In February I got in touch with a choir and I was about to go for an introductory session and then COVID-19 happened,” Dr Cheater said. “For the time when we’re online practising in the choir you forget that we’re in a pandemic, so it’s been fantastic to have that distraction.”

Each member of the choir recorded their parts of the song via Zoom, with 223 recordings from 113 individuals then being used to create the final song.

The ICU Liberty Singers face tough competition, with two-time Christmas chart topper LadBaby and Justin Bieber’s collaboration with the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS choir among the bookies’ favourites for Christmas number one.

For Dr Cheater chart positions aren’t really the point though, with all intensive care units pledging to play the song on Christmas day in a unified show of support.

“Whether we are number one or not, we’ve got so much out of this,” she said. “Doing this has made us all smile, laugh and it’s been a great bit of fun, which is what we need. Sting recently said he endorses our version of the song and that’s good enough for me.”

Dr Susan Gilby, Chief Executive at the Countess of Chester Hospital, said: “After such an unprecedented and difficult year, it is heart-warming to see intensive care specialists coming together like this to support each other at Christmas. I’m very proud that Kate, Lyndsay and Beccy are representing the Countess in the ICU Liberty Singers choir. The song is both incredibly poignant and sounds fantastic. I wish them well as they bid for chart success.”

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