Gary’s touching tribute to grandad with charity single

Gary Walsh has released a charity single for the Royal British Legion in memory of his grandad Maxie Walsh.
Gary Walsh has released a charity single for the Royal British Legion in memory of his grandad Maxie Walsh.

A panto star from South Tyneside has released a charity single in memory of his beloved grandad.

Gary Walsh, 24, is selling his self-penned track to raise money for the Royal British Legion.

Maxie Walsh.

Maxie Walsh.

He was inspired by his late grandad, Maxie Walsh, who was well known in the town for his fundraising efforts.

Former boxer Maxie, who passed away three years ago, at the age of 76, after battling cancer, was a familiar face at Hebburn Legion Club, in Kelly Road, and gave a lot of time raising cash for the armed services charity.

Gary, who lives in College Road, said: “When my grandad passed away, my family carried on the fundraising and set up the Max Walsh Poppy Appeal to do it all in his name.

“Whenever they were doing different fundraising things, I’d always miss them because I was away working, so I came up with this idea of selling a charity single instead.”

Gary has released his original track, Summer Mae, on iTunes and has vowed to give every penny he makes to the Royal British Legion.

He originally wrote the song for his girlfriend, Francesca Small, 24.

He said: “We met on the ships and the song is all about how we met and us travelling together and building a life with each other. It’s a bit cheesy but it’s catchy.

“My girlfriend loved it when she first heard it, but wanted to keep it private between us. When I told her I wanted to release it as a charity single in memory of my grandad, she was all for it, though.”

Gary, who has just completed a starring stint as Sergeant Ping in pantomime Aladdin at the Tyne Theatre and Opera House, Newcastle, added: “My grandad was always very supportive of me and we were really close – we’re a close family. I was working away when he took ill and I was going to come home but he told me I should stay where I was and focus on my job.

“I think he’d be really pleased with what I’m doing and my family are all really behind me.

“It’s been great being home with them for Christmas.”

l Download Summer Mae on iTunes for 79p.