Brain tumour survivor Lyra, aged seven, set to storm Christmas charts again with charity single

A little girl who took the UK – and the music charts – by storm last year with her Christmas charity single When A Child is Born for Brain Tumour Research, is poised to do it all again, as she releases a new cover version of another firm festive favourite.

Somerset schoolgirl Lyra Cole, who beat Stormzy in the official download charts to become a serious contender for the coveted Christmas number one slot in 2019, is supporting the charity again this year. She is releasing of her version of Shakin’ Stevens’ Merry Christmas Everyone. Lyra has recorded a cover of one of the most enduring Christmas number ones ever, giving it her own sprinkling of much-needed magic and feel-good factor for 2020. Her single is available to pre-order from today (Friday 27 November) and can be downloaded from next Friday (4 December).

All proceeds from downloads of the single will be donated to Brain Tumour Research. Lyra, from Highbridge, is supporting the charity, as she and her family know all too well the pain of a brain tumour diagnosis. Lyra was just a baby when she underwent gruelling emergency surgery. Initially misdiagnosed with a virus, her symptoms included loss of appetite and vomiting.

Lyra was one of the fortunate ones; her tumour – which was the size of an orange – was successfully removed when she was five months old, in an operation lasting 11 hours. However, within months of the op Lyra was struggling to see and underwent a second procedure a year later, this time to restore her sight. Her parents Dan Cole, 39, and Ellie Hawkes, 29, were horrified to learn that brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer yet, historically, just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.

Now, with the help of her aunt Jessie Hawkes, 30, creative director of media company The Digital Ladder, pint-sized pop sensation Lyra is once again showcasing her talents with a new single and cute music video. The Merry Christmas Everyone video was filmed on The Grand Pier in Weston-Super-Mare and features Lyra and her equally adorable younger brother Charlie, three, ‘playing, having fun’, as they run around the arcade dressed up as elves.

Jessie said: “Lyra is such a superstar. We were so proud of her success in the Christmas charts last year and she had so much fun in the process, we thought, why not do it all again? This year, more than ever, we all need some festive cheer and that’s what Lyra’s single is all about.

“We chose Merry Christmas Everyone because it’s an absolute Christmas classic. It’s been a tough year for so many people and we hope that Lyra’s track will bring joy. It represents a story of hope, as she has overcome so much in her short life. By downloading the track people will be giving hope to families who, like us, know the devastation caused by a brain tumour.”

This year’s bid for number one is likely to gain more celebrity backing and traction on social media with the #ChristmasWithLyra. The single is available for pre-order from Friday 27 November and can be downloaded a week later, on Friday 4 December.

Lyra said: “It was so exciting recording and promoting my Christmas song last year and I came so close to making it to number one. It would be a dream come true if it happened this time but most of all I just want to raise lots of money for Brain Tumour Research and help other families like mine.”

To get a preview of the single and video go to: www.braintumourresearch.org/lyra-cole

Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at dedicated centres in the UK. It also campaigns for the Government and the larger cancer charities to invest more in research into brain tumours in order to speed up new treatments for patients and, ultimately, to find a cure. The charity is calling for an annual spend of £35m in order to improve survival rates and patient outcomes in line with other cancers such as breast cancer and leukaemia and is also campaigning for greater repurposing of drugs.

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