Students record Christmas song to open hearts and combat loneliness
- Credit: Laurie Willey
A song recorded by two talented Suffolk students aims to raise awareness of loneliness and help open hearts at Christmas.
Laurie Willey from Hollesley, 19, and Toby Young from Leiston, 18, have written and recorded the song, Don't Shut Me Out.
The message of the song is to open our hearts and not shut people out this Christmas - and it is being used to raise funds for charities supporting vulnerable people.
Both the aspiring musicians are studying on a year-long artist development course at Access Creative College in Norwich.
Laurie works part-time at Woodhall Manor Wedding Venue near Woodbridge and is a member of a band called Suns of Icarus. He said: "We have been getting a lot of good reaction from family and friends and my workmates have also said they really love it.
He said the song had been inspired by what everyone has been going through during Covid.
"Making a Christmas song is quite special to me, because Christmas last year was so difficult for everyone. I think it is feeling more special again this year.
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"If you are feeling alone, there is always help out there."
Toby said: "For me personally, the message is to be welcoming at Christmas, and to get your heart open and your doors open."
The track is available to stream via YouTube, Spotify and Apple Music, and has also been played on Wayne Bavin's show on BBC Radio Suffolk.
Official tourism website The Suffolk Coast has also spotlighted the song on its website and asked people listening to it to support a range of local charities and organisations, including Emmaus Suffolk, The Bus Shelter Ipswich, The Benjamin Foundation, Combat2Coffee and others.
"If we can raise money for these charities and help people, that will be brilliant," Laurie said.
Going forward, Laurie and Toby plan to work together on more music over the coming year.
For links to the song and to support the charities, visit the Suffolk Coast page.