Opera singer Russell Watson, who has survived two brain tumours, has created a new compilation of his songs for a cancer charity to be released posthumously to help fund “pioneering work” into new cures.
The Salford-born classical singer, 56, is the first musician to write an unreleased track into his will, leaving it as a gift for the UK-based Worldwide Cancer Research to help others “overcome a life-threatening diagnosis” just as he did.
Watson was told he had a brain tumour in 2006 and was successfully treated – before overcoming a second diagnosis a year later.
He said: “My diagnosis changed everything – all I could think about was how my wife and daughters would survive without me.
“It was difficult to see beyond my illness at the time, but to be alive and healthy 15 years later is something I’m eternally grateful for.
“Often when we are writing wills we think about those closest to us. But a will, much like a piece of music, has the power to touch the lives of so many more.
“I want others to receive the kind of life-saving treatment that I did, to give that gift of time for which I’m so grateful every day.”
Speaking about the never-been-heard compilation, Watson added: “Leaving this track in my will to support the pioneering work for new cancer cures is hopefully a powerful reminder of the legacy we can all leave behind.”
Watson’s song, billed as a “compilation of his most-loved songs”, was created to remove the taboo around post-life planning and shine a light on how leaving a will “can touch the lives of others”.
Helen Rippon, chief executive of the charity Worldwide Cancer Research, said: “Discussion around post-life planning can be uncomfortable, but with roughly half of Brits without a written will, it is important we spread the message about how important it is to plan for when that day comes.
“We understand that people want to put their family and friends first when thinking about writing a will, and our free service offers you support with making that decision.
“It can be a really daunting task, and we want to make it as simple as possible for our community of curestarters.
“You don’t have to include a gift to Worldwide Cancer Research in your will in return, but of course we’d be extremely grateful if you did.
“We’re hugely inspired by Russell’s story and are delighted to receive such an incredible gift from him to shine a light on our charity, and hopefully bring us closer to a day when no life is cut short by cancer.”
Worldwide Cancer Research funds discovery research with the mission to stop cancer.