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Suffolk family pen lockdown hit to raise cash for the NHS

PUBLISHED: 11:30 12 June 2020 | UPDATED: 12:01 12 June 2020

Bella and Millie Wood play their instruments on the track Picture; JAMIE WOOD

Bella and Millie Wood play their instruments on the track Picture; JAMIE WOOD

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A musically-minded Suffolk family have written a special lockdown song to raise money for the NHS.

The Wood family have performed a song which is loosely based on Havana by Camila Cabello Picture: JAMIE WOODThe Wood family have performed a song which is loosely based on Havana by Camila Cabello Picture: JAMIE WOOD

The song, written by the Wood family from Bromeswell, near Woodbridge, has proved a social media hit attracting more than 3,000 views in 24 hours and raising almost £500. Written and performed by all members of the family, the song was loosely based Camilla Cabello’s hit, Havana.

The track’s words have been changed to a more coronavirus-based theme.

It features 12-year-old Millie on violin, 10-year-old Bella on cello and vocals with their mother Fiona on backing vocals and father Jamie performing a rap.

Mr Wood, a wealth asset manager who improvises and DJs in his spare time, said: “The girls came up with the idea when they were practising their musical instruments one day so we started to mess around with some lyrics.

The Wood family said it was important to be able to spread joy at this time Picture: JAMIE WOODThe Wood family said it was important to be able to spread joy at this time Picture: JAMIE WOOD

“They got a loop pedal for Christmas which allows you to loop your track and build layers of a song and it’s been really fun watching them play with it to make up the song.

“I posted it online for the amusement of friends and family but everyone started to share it and it has snowballed somewhat so we thought it was a good chance to fundraise at the same time and have been blown away by the generosity.

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“I’m very proud of my children – they are very talented – and it’s been wonderful to see them create something that people are engaging with.”

Millie is studying for her grade 8 in violin and grade 4 in piano, while Bella is on grade 6 cello and grade 3 piano.

Both girls have been playing since the age of four and are members of the South Suffolk Youth Orchestra and national chamber music school Pro Corda.

Mrs Wood, a reflexologist, is a classical grade 8 flautist.

She said: “We may all have a bit of training as classical musicians but my kids love Ed Sheeran and Camilla Cabello and get a lot of their inspiration from pop music culture.

“Throw in their father and his penchant for rap music for good measure, and the result is something we are all pretty proud of.

“In the current climate, finding ways to spread a little joy is really important. Music lifts up our spirits as a family so we wanted to share that with everyone else.

“It’s also an excellent way for us to support the NHS which is continuing to do a fantastic job and deserves our absolute admiration.”

You can hear the song and donate on the family’s Facebook fundraiser.


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Through his business, he aims to build a conservation-based economy connecting visitors with Suffolk’s stunning countryside both digitally and physically through safaris and lectures. “I spend most of my time on safari in farmland habitat on the Shotley and Deben peninsulas,” he says. “This guiding season for Spirit of Suffolk started early March and I had several safari bookings as well as two photography workshops planned throughout March and April.” Philip was just one safari into the season – with one urban fox tour under his belt – with the business really taking off when lockdown measures were introduced on March 23, which meant he had to ditch his planned events. Lockdown hit him hard on a personal level too, he admits. “I always thought I would be able to head out to the countryside still, alone, and with caution. But as lockdown measures were introduced I realised this was not to be the case. “On a personal level this was deeply troubling as time spent in nature forms who I am as a person in both actions and spirit. “From a business perspective initially it felt shattering as I could not operate any of the core elements of the business, and to have started the season so spectacularly well with an amazing first safari and superb urban fox tour I really felt bad for the guests that had trips booked and were now not able to take them. “As a wildlife photographer but living in central Ipswich I also felt limited in what I could do photography-wise.” But he picked himself up and started working on his website and social media strategies. It was a “joy” to provide a vital connection with nature to people stuck at home, he said. “Early on in the lockdown I started a project called ‘On the Doorstep’ in which I would spend a little time each day stood on my doorstep and photograph the comings and goings of people.” The project now forms part of a cultural snapshot of Ipswich in 2020 collated by Suffolk Archives. He also used the downtime to create short books. The two titles – Suffolk Wildlife - A Photo Journey, and Spirit Bear - A True Story of Isolation and Survival – have been “very popular”, selling both in the UK and abroad. They even received an accolade from veteran environmentalist and wildlife broadcaster Sir David Attenborough who described them as “delightful”. He has two more planned – the first of which is Bears and Hares, which is set to be followed by a collection of photo stories from the doorstep project. As lockdown eased in early August he was able to resume his safaris, initially on a two-week trial basis. The pilot proved very successful and as a result he was able to begin booking events again. “Although we are nearing the quieter season I continue to take people out who are keen on enjoying the beauty of Suffolk and its wonderful wildlife and I am personally excited for the beauty and joys of autumn,” he says. “People often purchase the safaris as a gift for someone else and this continues to be popular, as a birthday present or Christmas present that can be redeemed at any point in the future.” From October, he is also planning to resume his one-day photography workshops. “I have always loved showing people the wonders of nature, whether that be a grizzly, a barn owl, killer whales or an urban fox. I think the lockdown period offered a different appreciation for the things around us and I am ever so excited to be with people again and to be showing them all the wonderful wildlife of my favourite spots in Suffolk.” He has had to adapt the tours to ensure safety, but the changes are subtle and don’t detract from the main goal - which is seeing nature, he says. “I now encourage the guest to bring along their own drink and snacks and to also bring their own pair of binoculars. We do wear face coverings while in the vehicle and with the windows open to ensure ventilation. Such changes have been well received by the safari guests and we continue to have some great wildlife viewing.” He’ll be “forever grateful” to his customers and guests for their support and understanding during the pandemic. “Recovery all depends on the current status of local restrictions and the virus itself. I am hoping that a vaccine can be in place as soon as possible. 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