Death of a friend inspires Janet to write heartbreaking song

Mervyn and Janet Dowd
Mervyn and Janet Dowd

After her friend died from cancer, singer songwriter Janet Dowd vowed to do something to help raise funds for Macmillan Cancer.

The 53-year-old is well known across Ireland as a talented singer so Janet decided to write a song and dedicate the proceeds to charity.

The former Killicomaine JHS pupil was born and reared in Portadown and after getting married to Mervyn in 1997 moved to Loughgall.

She said: “Music was a big part of growing up and party pieces would be performed for family and friends, or in the bath. It was only when I left home to start a course in Graphic Design and Television production in Carlisle that I began to sing in front of an audience,” she said, adding that her first band, a skiffle/folk band were runner up in the Cumbrian Folk Music Competition.

As well as performing both locally and in the UK, Janet runs Warble Singing School from home, welcoming all ages and abilities. “It is a total pleasure to see the confidence and joy people get through singing. I feel incredibly lucky to have a career in music and to have made so many wonderful friends.

Her husband Mervyn is a huge support to Janet on her musical venture and also plays the guitar in her band.

“People inspire me. In fact it was my friend Alan Ward’s passing that inspired me to write ‘The Brightest Stars’. When someone who was a huge part of your life passes away, they leave a massive hole and you feel helpless. So, when Alan lost his battle with cancer, I wanted to keep his memory alive and to do something useful. That was the reason for the song and also I hoped that it may help others who have lost someone.

“Alan was the father of my friend Iain who I met at Cumbria College of Art and Design. They live in the most beautiful part of Scotland. I got to know Alan and his wife Kate really well as we would visit often especially for Hogmany, a week of non stop celebrations. Kate told me recently that the song means so much to her and in fact helped give her the strength to go on, knowing how much people thought of him. He was a total legend and a beautiful human being.

“The CD ‘The Brightest Stars’ has raised over £2k so far for MacMillan. They were invaluable to Alan and all the family and of course offer an amazing service to many others.”

Anyone who would like a copy can buy it from Premier Record Stores in Belfast, or from Janet at janet.dowd@sky.com or download on iTunes or Amazon. It costs £5 and all the money from CDs sold will go to Macmillan