Paul Potts thrilled to support Chestnut Tree House at Eastbourne concert
Britain’s Got Talent winner and chart-topping opera singer Paul Potts is thrilled to be supporting Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice at a special Eastbourne concert.
Paul will be joined by four other musical acts, including fellow Britain’s Got Talent winner Colin Thackery, at the Royal Hippodrome Theatre in Eastbourne on Thursday, September 16.
“The concert has been cancelled twice,” Paul says. “It was supposed to be spring and then the autumn last year and now it is the autumn again. I was determined that it was going to happen.”
It costs more £4.6 million each year to provide all Chestnut Tree House’s specialist care services. Families are never charged for their care and only a small percentage of the cost of care is funded by central government. So it relies heavily on the generosity, help and support of the local community.
“And those are the charities that have been hit by the pandemic,” Paul says. “There has maybe been more attention on the NHS charities and that is right, but some of the other ones have suffered and I want to help.”
It comes after the most trying year for everyone: “I did four months of doing daily performances during the first lockdown on YouTube and Facebook, and that felt weird when you are used to being on stage performing to people that you can actually see, but it kept me going for four months.”
Paul became a household name when he won the first series of ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent in 2007 and has since enjoyed a successful career in classical music. The month following his Britain’s Got Talent win, Potts released his debut album, One Chance, that topped the charts in 13 countries. He appeared on the Oprah show, brought Times Square to a standstill, announced a global arena tour and became a household name in cities from Seoul to New York and Sydney to Hamburg.
“Really not being able to perform live (during the pandemic) was like having your arm cut off, like just having part of you disappear. And that’s one of the reasons that I hope people will continue to think of others when they go into public spaces, that they will continue to wear masks. It is about looking after other people and about protecting other people.
“People enjoy their leisure time and being able to enjoy shows and I want that to continue because we know that the leisure things will always be the first ones to close should things change and that they will always be the last ones to open. We need to protect each other and to protect our leisure-time things as well. People are desperate for their freedom but we do still all need to take care. I think perhaps things could have been opened earlier, but I think they should have been opened much more gradually so that we just don’t have a rush of cases and ultimately decisions need to be made again.”
Inevitably not being able to perform has meant plenty of reflection: “I just love to perform, and not being able to perform has been very difficult. But I do know that other people have had it a lot worse than me. I know of somebody that had the virus very badly and was in intensive care and is still not feeling well. But really we have just all got to hope for the future.”
The charity concert takes place on Thursday, September 16 2021, and in addition to performances by Paul Potts and Colin Thackery, guests will be treated to music from classical crossover soprano, Joanna Forest, twin sopranos Classical Reflection and Eastbourne-based choir, Concentus. Tickets are priced at £27 (concession £25) and are available from www.royalhippodrome.com or by phoning 01323 802020. All profits from the concert will go directly to Chestnut Tree House.