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Cork students record charity single for pal undergoing cancer treatment

All they want for Christmas is….to top the charts for their classmate as he battles cancer.

Students attending a school in north Cork have recorded a very special charity single to help raise funds for a pal who is undergoing cancer treatment in Crumlin Children’s Hospital.

And the transition year students at St Colman’s College in Fermoy said they hope to give the regular Christmas favourites by The Pogues, Chris Rea and George Michael a real run for their money by making their recording of the 1972 soul classic, Lean On Me, the most played, most streamed and most listened-to Christmas song this festive season.

“Our ambition is to get the Christmas number one slot this year,” their music teacher, Sarah Barry, said. “They thought it was crazy when I suggested we could do it, they looked at me and laughed, and I know they think I’m crazy. But I think we can do it.

I’m just so proud of them - for a group of 70 students to do something so positive for a classmate. They are really driving this on themselves.

The students decided they wanted to do something to help and show concern for their classmate following his diagnosis with cancer.

They approached Ms Barry, who has recorded songs before and discussed various songs and options, before deciding to record their version of the Bill Withers 1972 soul classic.

“There is a strong music tradition in the school and several good singers, and there is such a positive message in the song, that the boys just ran with it,” she said.

Dara O'Murchu records vocals for the track. Photo and video: Larry Cummins

They recorded the song in school with producer Mark Cahill, and shot a music video. Both will be officially launched next Wednesday.

The song will be available for download and streaming on various platforms, with hard-copies available for sale locally. All the money raised from sales of the single will be donated to Crumlin Children’s Hospital, the Ronald McDonald House, the national children’s ambulance service, Bumbleance, and for the student and his family.

The students have secured the backing of several high-profile individuals in the worlds of sport and politics, including Ireland rugby legend, Peter O’Mahony, athletics hero Rob Heffernan, veteran commentator, Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh, and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin.

They will feature in a massive promotional campaign which is expected to get underway within days.

The school is poised to launch its promotional campaign across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, using the hashtag and slogan, #colmansstandtogether, when the single and video are launched next week.