Children’s musical tribute to remember mother at Christmas

Graham Ferry and children Tom and Olivia, whose mother Cheryl died last October of cancer. Tom and Olivia joined church band to play a carol concert in honour of St Clare's Hospice, who cared for Cheryl.
Graham Ferry and children Tom and Olivia, whose mother Cheryl died last October of cancer. Tom and Olivia joined church band to play a carol concert in honour of St Clare's Hospice, who cared for Cheryl.
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A BIG-HEARTED brother and sister got tuned up for charity – to pay an emotional tribute to their much-missed mum.

Olivia and Tom Ferry hit the right note after joining up with a church band just in time to play a seasonal concert in their street, to raise funds for the borough hospice that provided vital care to mum, Cheryl Mullen, who lost her battle with cancer in October 2013.

Graham Ferry and children Tom and Olivia, whose mother Cheryl died last October of cancer. Tom and Olivia joined church band to play a carol concert in honour of St Clare's Hospice, who cared for Cheryl.'Mother Cheryl Ferry

Graham Ferry and children Tom and Olivia, whose mother Cheryl died last October of cancer. Tom and Olivia joined church band to play a carol concert in honour of St Clare's Hospice, who cared for Cheryl.'Mother Cheryl Ferry

The caring siblings are members of the People’s Mission Junior Band and played a string of festive favourites for neighbours in their street, Sea View Park, in Whitburn.

The yuletide treat raised more than £400 – with residents braving the cold to get in the Christmas spirit.

The event was organised by church member, and family neighbour, Tracey Brydon.

Cheryl Mullen, 47, died in October – just months before she would have been able to test a new cancer drug to help prolong her life.

The mother-of-two, who was a cabin crew member for British Airways for more than 20 years, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003.

The condition spread to her liver and brain.

Despite losing her hair and undergoing several bouts of chemotherapy, her partner Graeme Ferry says she “would never moan”.

Proud dad Graham, Cheryl’s partner of 17 years, said: “Olivia and Tom joined the band about a month ago. They are really enjoying it.

“It was lovely for them to be involved in the concert, raising money in honour of their mum.

“Tom plays the baronet and Olivia plays the cornet.

“They are both very musical.

“We had more than 50 people turn out for the concert. We had mulled wine and cakes and I made some pies.

“All the neighbours turned out and we raised more than £400 just playing on the estate.

“We just wanted to raise as much money as we could.”

Graham and the children were eager to throw themselves into a good cause to help them get through the tough holiday period.

“The Christmas period is very tough for all of us, as it is full of reminders.

“We are going to spend Christmas Day with my niece in Bishop Auckland.

“It is good just to get away for a bit.

“I would like to say a big thank you to Tracey Brydon, from the People’s Mission Church and the junior band, as well as all our neighbours for turning out”

Graham says Cheryl was alaways smiling – despite fighting cancer for so many years.

He said: “She never, ever moaned about her condition. We have two children and they knew everything that was going on.

“They thought she was invincible because she kept on going. They have been magnificent and have handled things very well.”

Mr Ferry says his beloved partner was to be put forward for TDM1 – a new cancer drug being trialled – but could not stave off the condition any longer, and passed away in St Clare’s Hospice, Jarrow.

He added: “She was only in St Clare’s Hospice for a couple of hours. But everyone there was lovely, very helpful and compassionate.”