“Singers Together bridge the Gap!” (14th September 2012)
Our ‘People’ pages on Rochford Life have sought to include those who contribute to the life of Rochford but without being part of any business or organisation.
When we heard about John Colvill we couldn’t help but be intrigued. But let’s not rush this; let’s take it at the pace that ‘talking’ to John goes. From our two photos you may or may not recognise on John’s lap, a lite writer. John has Motor Neurone Disease which means he cannot speak, so if you wish to talk with John, you speak and he types his response which eventually comes as a voice reading the sentence he’s typed. It’s not the fastest means of communication, which makes this little account all the more remarkable.
Once we get under way, John ‘explains’ to me that he has been a singer of Country and general popular songs. Anna later explains he has also been actor and has also sung in local clubs, before he lost his voice eighteen months ago.
Under way again, John tells me that he had been listening to an Eric Hall Sunday phone-in programme who had, as a guest with him, singer Helen Shapiro. As a result of this John e-mailed Helen explaining that he had lost his voice and could not phone in.
Anna short-circuited the communication process and explained that this was a year back when John could still use his computer well, and that he and Helen had then shared e-mails. John interposes that they had kept in contact for almost a year.
Helen had gone on to send John one of her tapes and some literature and then had, several months ago arranged to come and see him. As if one visit from this well-known singer had not been enough, just recently Helen asked and came to visit John a second time, and both times has sung for him.
Communication may be slow with John now, but his communication skills are added to by a wry smile and an occasional slight nod of the head. Life is obviously not easy for John but with the help of modern technology he has bridged the communication gap with great rewards. Not too many of us manage to get well known singers coming to visit us - twice! Good one John and thank you Helen.
To see more of Helen Shapiro’s modern work (she’s now 65 for you similarly aged fans!) go to:
Subsequent to this interview we were saddened to hear that John had passed away early in November.
We leave this interview here as a tribute to him