Harry Gardner, the talented student whose heartbreaking song about his nan went viral for Alzheimer’s Research UK last year, has got through to the live semi-final shows of Britain’s Got Talent and says he will do everything in his power to win for her.
The decision to put Harry through to the live shows has even more meaning for Harry now after his beloved nan, Maureen, passed away from Alzheimer’s last month, just seven days before his audition was aired.
Judge Simon Cowell described Harry Gardner, who turned 17 on Thursday, as a talented songwriter after his audition was aired to the nation on 6 May.
In response to his audition, viewers of the TV talent show flooded onto his online donation page to help his fundraising efforts, raising more than £4,000 for Alzheimer’s Research UK in the past three weeks alone. After receiving four yeses from the judges, Harry faced a nail-biting wait to find out if he’d make it through to the semi-finals.
The show, aired today (Saturday 27 May), saw Harry elated to find out he’d made it through.
Harry said: “I feel so happy – I can’t believe I got through! To have got this far is such a huge achievement for me and I’m both excited and nervous about my next performance.”
Viewers flocked to Twitter to say they’d be voting for Harry to get through to the final.Twitter user Vaishali wrote: “So happy @HarryGardner_ got through he deserves it!!
And ems wrote: @HarryGardner_ I’m so glad you got through, congratulations!!
He now has just days to prepare for the live shows next week, with Harry being scheduled to compete in a live show next week.
Sadly, Harry’s nan Maureen McGuinness died at the age of 77 from Alzheimer’s disease just a week before Harry’s audition aired. He played Not Alone at her funeral to family and friends.
Before she died Maureen was cared for at her home in Ongar, Essex, by Harry’s doting grandad Owen. The young musician was left shocked and upset after visiting his nan last year and seeing her rapid deterioration with the disease.
That evening Harry, who lives in Chelmsford, Essex, stayed up until 2am writing the song. He has since gone on to raise more than £12,000 for Alzheimer’s Research UK’s pioneering research projects into preventions and treatments for dementia.
Following the release of his single, Harry was made a Champion of Alzheimer’s Research UK, an accolade given to those who have gone above and beyond to raise funds and awareness for the charity.
Alzheimer’s Research UK is now encouraging the public to vote for Harry to get through to the final on Tuesday, and tweet their support by using the hashtag #VoteHarry.
Tim Parry, Director at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “We were thrilled to hear Harry had got through to the live shows following his heartwarming audition and we wish him the best of luck for the semi-final.
“Of course we’ll all be voting for Harry on Tuesday and would encourage the public to pick up their phones and vote for him too.
“Harry is an inspiration and we’ve been blown away by his commitment to support Alzheimer’s Research UK in honour of his nan. Raising over £12,000 through his music is no mean feat.
“We can defeat dementia through research and it’s the incredible generosity of people like Harry that is powering our pioneering work to achieve this goal.”
Harry lives with his mum and his dad John, and siblings Molly, 18, Oliver, 14, and Gene, nine, at their home in Chelmsford, Essex.
To see more from Harry, and to donate to his fundraising page, go to http://www.alzheimersresearchuk.org/harrys-story/
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