BIG-HEARTED Kieran Scaplehorn sings the songs his father loves - and helps his dad to win his fight for life.
Kieran, 15, from Washington, has been hailed as a hero after teaching himself to play the guitar and then playing for his father Bernie who had a brain haemorrhage on March 21, 2013.
Bernie, 45, was on a life support machine at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle after the haemorrhage. As he gradually improved, he was transferred to the Walkergate Park Centre For Neurorehabilitation and Neuropsychiatry, also in Newcastle.
Now, he is on the mend and living in Jarrow while his son pays him regular visits to sing his favourite songs.
It started with Bernie’s favourite tune - The River by the American country music singer Garth Brook. More songs have followed since and Bernie is progressing well with the help of his son.
Kieran’s grandad, also called Bernie Scaplehorn, 70, said: “When he sees Kieran on the guitar, he is extremely proud and he gets a bit emotional.”
Kieran, who attends the Oxclose Community Academy in Washington and lives in the town’s Horsley Road with his family including mum Dawn, said: “I started playing the guitar in Year 3 and just taught myself. I first started playing to my dad when he came out of the RVI and he just started to advance.
“I played Garth Brooks and he was chuffed to bits and smiling. He was saying how proud he was and how happy he was for me.”
Kieran has now been nominated for Best of Wearside award in the Child of Achievement category.
His dad said: “I can honestly say I’m really pleased with the sort of person he has turned into and the way he has worked hard at his music.
“When he plays I find it very soothing. I have short term memory loss and I can’t remember things but when Kieran plays his music I remember the songs. I am very proud of him.”
Kieran’s nomination for the award read: “Kieran has been through a lot in his young life and deserves something nice to happen for him in recognition of all the support he has been to his family over the last few years.
“He concentrated hard on his music to help both him and his dad cope with the situation, when visiting his dad he would take his guitar, play and sing for his dad.
“It was an absolute pleasure for the rest of the family to see his dad beaming with pride for his son. Both the hospital staff and family stated that Kieran’s music has played a large part in his dad’s recovery and will continue to do so.”
As well as his dad suffering a brain haemorrhage, his grandad Bernie was recently admitted to the RVI with a rare neurological condition. He was diagnosed with the muscle-weakening condition Myasthenia Gravis (MG).
He and Kieran remain close and it’s a proud grandad who takes his grandson to many of his musical performances.
Bernie senior, a councillor for Washington West, said: “Kieran wouldn’t say he was a hero but I would. He is an inspiration with what he has done.”
Kieran used his new-found skill for music to enter the Genfactor music competition last year - and reached the grand final.
His nomination for our Best of Wearside awards said: “He was one of only 12 acts when he performed at the Sunderland Empire in front of 850 people. This was a great achievement being chosen from over 120 acts who originally auditioned so he did really well. In the final Kieran dedicated his performance to his dad who couldn’t attend due to the brain injury he suffered. He was an inspiration at the final and gave a fantastic performance.”
Now Kieran is hoping to win our awards - but if he does, it will be on the same night that he performs in the finals of this year’s Genfactor competition.