RADIO DJ and TV presenter Chris Evans has donated £25,000 to a Bradford musician’s project which helps people record a tribute song to a loved one.

Mr Evans surprised Ben Slack with the donation to his Swan Song Project, live on air on his Virgin Radio show on Wednesday.

The presenter gave the money to Ben after meeting him this week at The Sun’s Who Cares Wins awards, where Ben was shortlisted for the Unsung Hero Award.


Ben, 29, founded The Swan Song Project at the Marie Curie hospice in Bradford two years ago to give terminally-ill people and their loved ones the opportunity to write and record their own song as a tribute to a special person.

He was nominated for the award by Bradford-based student Rebecca Scott-Davis, 18, who wrote a song with Ben about the death of her grandmother.

The awards hosted by Lorraine Kelly pay tribute to the UK’s health heroes – the doctors, nurses, charities and volunteers who save lives and make a difference.

Rebecca nominated Ben after her grandmother, Oma, died from breast cancer at the hospice in February.

She wrote a song called How Can We Forget with Ben, and credits him to helping her process the death of her grandmother.

Rebecca said: “It helped massively with the grief process.

“Oma loved music and before she passed away she asked me, ‘You won’t forget me, will you?’

“The song was raw to work on but I’m so proud of how it ended up and that is thanks to Ben.

“He didn’t dictate anything, he just helped me figure it out. My mum cried when she heard it.”

Ben said: “I was so surprised when Chris announced live on air that he was going to be donating £25,000 to The Swan Song Project.

“The donation means that I will be able to help more patients and their loved ones at the hospice and in the local community create special memories.

“Music can be so powerful, so healing – the process of creating something which will live on after someone dies is a privilege to be part of.

“Thanks to Chris, the project can continue to grow and I can help more families across Yorkshire.”

Ben set up the project following the death of his grandmother who loved music. He wanted to make a way for people to be able to leave a legacy through music.

So far, Ben has helped to create more than 50 original songs with local families and their friends.

“Most people don’t get chance to tell the stories of their lives. But there’s something about music that helps people open up,” said Ben.

“Being with people at the end of life, I find they’re very honest and reflective. Songwriting helps them make sense of things.”

Lead Nurse at the Bradford Marie Curie hospice, Nicky Denbow said: "Everyone at the hospice was delighted to hear the news.

"The Swan Song Project is making a massive difference to some of the patients and their families. Ben gives people an opportunity to tell their story and leave something very special for their loved ones.

"The therapeutic benefits of both music and storytelling are well known - to combine both of these is just wonderful. At the hospice, we aim to deliver person-centred care and this is a really great example of that.”