I have to admit I wasn’t looking forward to playing a particular number last Saturday night. I was at the launch of the Ashleigh Merelle Sealey Trust Foundation. Ashleigh had contracted juvenile arthritis at a young age but went on to become a trainee solicitor. Sadly, she contracted a virus which her body could not fight off and she died, aged 23. Relatives, medical staff, friends, colleagues and supporters were present for the launch and it was an engaging night of music, food, dance, entertainers, fashion show, raffle and auction held at the West Bromwich Albion football ground.
So when I received the booking from her father, heard the details of her life, the focus of the Trust (inspiring, encouraging and supporting young people to realise their true potential), I was happy to contribute. But! Later in the conversation when he requested ‘Dance with my father again’, sung by Luther Vandross – a song that conjures feelings and memories of a heart felt relationship between a child and Father, well…tears were not far from my eyes. When I introduced the song to the audience there was an audible exhale about the sentiments of the song. Heart string were pulled. But play I did, emotions under control. Afterwards a lady told me she had to leave the room during my playing as it reminded her of her dearly departed father’s funeral for the song was also played there.
So I count it a privilege to be invited to share in events that commemorate the life of a person, and more so the life that goes on to inspire others.