Tribute record to fatal crash teenager

By Ted JeoryA TALENTED teenager paid tribute last night to his "brilliant" friend and music partner who was killed just one month after they were signed by a record label.

By Ted Jeory

A TALENTED teenager paid tribute last night to his "brilliant" friend and music partner who was killed just one month after they were signed by a record label.

Jamie Cameron, one half of Since I Was A Little Girl, has dedicated their debut record – to be released this month – to James MacDonald and said their friendship would last forever.

Tipped by music pundits as prodigious talents, the two 18-year-olds had a glittering future ahead of them.

Their two-man band was beginning to make waves in the music world and the duo was predicted by some to be the next big thing.

They had attracted the moneymen from a host of labels, including giants Columbia Records, but signed to an independent company, believing their creativity would be more carefully nurtured in a smaller environment, and the stage was set for the band's take-off.

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But then tragedy struck. The pair were travelling to Braintree for a Friday night out bowling when their car aquaplaned before colliding with another vehicle on a back-road near Stansted.

Both were crushed and taken to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge. Although Mr Cameron's injuries were critical, he survived – but Mr MacDonald, of Pine Avenue, Great Dunmow, died the following day.

Mr Cameron, who is currently studying at the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford, paid tribute last night to his friend.

"James was a dork. He admitted it, but then again, so am I and that's why we got on so well. We met at Cambridge Regional College two years ago – he just made me laugh," he said.

"There was this understanding between us that I'd never had before and I'm convinced I won't have again with anybody. We could just sit down and write music and work off each other – it was so relaxing."

Inspired by a mutual love of Roxy Music, Tears For Fears and Blue Nile, the pair formed Since I Was A Little Girl and tapped unwittingly into an upsurge in interest in 1980s music. Eventually, independent label Where It's At Is Where You Are signed them up.

"But then came the crash," said Mr Cameron, from Saffron Walden, who suffered a crushed lung and serious chest injuries in the accident, which happened on June 27.

"I don't remember much of it – I was in a controlled coma for four days. I came out of it a couple of times and remember people telling me I'd had a car accident and James hadn't made it. But I thought it was all a dream. I was shouting to people around the bed 'Get out of my dream'.

"I guess really I didn't believe what they were saying and as long as I could get back to sleep, everything would be all right again."

Recalling his friend's funeral, Mr Cameron said everyone has said the same thing about Mr MacDonald.

"He had such strength of character – he just didn't care what people thought. I've got videos that we made together and my mum said that's the happiest I've ever looked when I was with him. I get shivers thinking about him – his spirit is always there," he added.

Dedicated to James MacDonald's memory, Since I Was A Little Girl's first EP – a selection of six songs – will be released on November 17.

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