Local tenor becomes Children’s Hospice patron

George Hutton and Ross McCloy, who is a pupil in Sandleford Special School
George Hutton and Ross McCloy, who is a pupil in Sandleford Special School

Local tenor, George Hutton, has become a patron for the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice.

George said it was a ‘huge honour’ as the work done by the hospice is ‘incredible’.

George, who appeared on the BBC talent show ‘All Together Now’ as one of the 100 judges, has had a busy year and he shows no sign of stopping.

Following on from his stint on ‘All Together Now,’ George travelled to America to tour with the Irish Tenors.

“It was such a fantastic experience. We were playing to sold out audiences across the country and it was so surreal.”

On his return from the States, George began working on his second album.

He is once again working with Paul Casey after their successful collaboration on his first solo album ‘Chapter One’.

“The second album is coming together nicely. There are going to be some big songs on it and we are all very excited.

“Chapter One was so well received. There was a lot of old folk songs that I grew up with, mixed in with original songs. I couldn’t move on and do anything else until I recorded those songs because it had been burning in me for years.

“The new album is going to be more Irish tenor orientated and ideally I would love it to be ready for the end of the year.”

George now has a series of concerts planned and he will be performing a mix of old and new material.

Later this week he will perform two concerts in aid of the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice.

On June 20, he will perform at the Riverside Theatre in Coleraine and two days later at the Braid Arts Centre in Ballymena.

At the Coleraine event he will be joined on stage for one song with the Makaton Choir from Sandleford Special School.

George has struck up a friendship with Ross McCloy who attends the school and uses the services of the children’s Hospice.

George says Ross is ‘full of craic’ and always tells him he is ‘better than Olly Murrs.’ The local tenor was invited to visit the school and was ‘moved’ by the pupils’ talent.

He said that becoming a patron of the Hospice has given him a chance to give something back.

“Once I had finished the BBC show, the Children’s Hospice contacted me and asked me to become a patron. It was a huge honour.”

George was then invited to visit the Hospice and said his experience ‘very quickly put everything into perspective.

“We all complain about the silly things and then there are these children who are in end of life care, or who require very specialist care and support.”

Becoming a patron is a continuation of a very special relationship between George and the Children’s Hospice, which he has supported for a number of years.

“In 2012, back when I was power lifting, I raised around £2,000 for them in memory of my late friend, Gaelic footballer, Brian Óg McKeever.

“I played football with him and his two older brothers for most of our lives. Although Brian Óg only lived to 17, he was more of a man than I will ever be.

“Because of Brian Óg, the Children’s Hospice has always been something very close to my heart.

“When I was asked to become a patron it was like it has come full circle and it is so nice to be able to give something back.”

“It is such a huge honour that I wasn’t expecting. The work that the charity does is incredible and I am absolutely delighted to be a patron and to use my performances as a way to help raise some money.”

On June 23, George will also perform at an event in Drenagh House, Limavady, in aid of the Foyle Hospice.

George will also perform in St Augustine’s Church in July.