Lancing singer offers song of hope for those struggling alone

Lancing-based professional singer Dean Ager and his 11-year-old son Sidney are duetting on a charity song written by Dean whilst in lockdown.

Thursday, 4th March 2021, 10:05 am
Lancing-based professional singer Dean Ager and his 11-year-old son Sidney

As Dean, aged 47, explains: “The message of Don’t Give Up Hope is aimed at raising awareness of people struggling alone with mental health or isolation, anxiety and feeling there is no way out from their suffering.”

The video, available now on YouTube, was recorded at home with Dean playing the piano and harmonising with young son Sidney.

Dean added: “It was an amazing opportunity to collaborate with my son – something we will always remember doing together and it’s such a worthy cause. I’m sure so many people are struggling at the moment and I hope it helps send the message that you’re not alone with these issues.”

Dean has been a professional singer, performing for 25 years as a tribute to artists including Sinatra, Elvis and Neil Diamond, and performing his own material in concerts and weddings throughout the UK.

He started as a red coat in Butlins, Brighton, then worked up and down the country as an entertainer in various clubs before settling back in Sussex as a wedding, events and party performer.

Since the Covid lockdown in March 2020, Dean has been hit hard with no work, and like thousands of others, had all of his shows cancelled.

“I had no purpose or direction for the first time in my life and felt at a loss on how to provide for my family. My mental health suffered and I just didn’t know how to seek help.”

Fortunately for Dean, he lives at home with his “supporting and loving wife” Linda, along with their two boys, Sidney 11 who features on the track, and Matthew 15.

“Matthew has learning difficulties with an extremely rare genetic disorder which leads to challenging behaviour. Having to home school the boys during lockdown really compounded the anxiety and stress with what felt like no way out.”

Dean, encouraged by his wife, spoke with his GP who referred him to an online NHS self-help counselling group Time to Talk. After several sessions Dean’s passion for music helped him through the dark times. He spoke to a counsellor who helped him feel more confident about the future.

Dean recalls, “I turned a negative into a positive by teaming up with my son Sidney and writing an inspirational song with a strong message. I couldn’t have done that without the support of my family and the NHS, to whom I’ll always be grateful.”

Reflecting on his own personal mental health experiences, the song was written to raise awareness of how people who are suffering alone at home should ask for help, Dean said.

The lyrics include “Winter’s come and gone/But the pain goes on and on/When tears are in your eyes/but no one can see you cry.”

“Yes, there are definite references to the reality of living in Covid lockdown with the suffering of isolation it brings. However, we all need hope to see us through and that is the main key to the song: share the load when you feel you cannot cope.”

The song can be viewed on YouTube and donations can be made via“The national charities the donations go to are MIND and NHS Charities Together.

“Both amazing charities are working overtime right now to help and support people suffering with mental health. Also, two local charities which have supported the family too: West Sussex Mind who are a separate and local branch providing information support and advice for mental health; and Adur Special Needs Project who provide respite for parents and carers with a play scheme for children with special needs.”