‘Singing Nurse’ appears on Royal Variety Performance
published on 19 Jan 2021
A paediatric nurse and Salvation Army choir member has been using her musical talent to cheer people up during the pandemic - and had a starring role on The Royal Variety Performance with NHS colleagues.
When the UK went into lockdown in March, Vicky Greaves, 28, of Preston, Lancashire, who works in the children’s A&E department at Blackpool’s Victoria Hospital, picked up her ukulele and started posting songs on her Twitter account in a bid to cheer people up – quickly becoming known as The Singing Nurse.
Vicky, who sings with Preston Salvation Army’s Songster Brigade and for the Sunday worship sessions, as well as playing cornet for the church and charity’s band, then took to the stage for The Royal Variety Performance with fellow NHS workers performing You’ll Never Walk Alone with Michael Ball, and Captain Tom Moore, who joined remotely.’
Vicky, who recorded the star-studded event at the Opera House at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool in November, said: “They asked staff at local hospitals if they were interested in singing for a ‘prestigious event’ and it turned out to be The Royal Variety Performance!
“We recorded it to a virtual audience - with screens put in the seats, which was amazing. My sister Charlotte, who works as a pharmacy technician at the hospital, was supposed to come and sing, but she was shielding so watched as part of the audience.
“Everyone was really nice. Michael Ball was lovely. It made me cry because, during the rehearsal, he was clapping at us, as people did on Thursdays during the first lockdown.
“You stand there thinking ‘yes this is real’. It was such an amazing feeling to be a part of it and to represent the NHS.
“My absolute dream is to be in a musical on stage and now I’ve been on stage it feels a step closer.”
The singers were not part of an official NHS choir, but are planning to sing together again when restrictions are eased.
Vicky has always worshipped at The Salvation Army, first in Blackpool and then in Preston where she studied at The University of Central Lancashire - first music production and then nursing, and volunteers when she can.
Always musical, playing piano as well as the ukulele and cornet, she joined The Salvation Army singing company at the age of six.
She said: “I love music and have always been a singer. I joined the singing company early because they would let me go to the practice sessions with my older sister. Now I’m also in the S3 North West Youth Choir.
“During lockdown I’ve been helping with the worship on a Sunday. Our pianist records the songs and we do vocals, which is used in the Sunday Service live stream.
“I just love singing. I feel like it boosts my mood. I’m always singing if I’m cooking or cleaning, and at work. It can come in handy. When I was a student I sang ‘Let it Go’ with a young patient who was terrified of having a cannula. The doctors, nurses and her parents all joined in, and it was a really special moment.”
It was during the first lockdown in March that Vicky started to share videos of her singing and playing the ukulele on Twitter, quickly becoming known as The Singing Nurse for her renditions of songs like 1234 by Feist and Vera Lynn’s We’ll Meet Again.
She said: “There was so much negativity on social media. I got fed up of the doom and gloom. I wanted to bring a bit of joy to people.”
And it is singing that helps get her through what is an especially tough time for NHS workers.
Vicky said: “I’d ask that we pray specifically for strength and endurance for staff wearing full PPE (personal protective equipment) for shifts of 12 hours of more, for staff who are worried about potentially taking the virus home and for staff morale as many are exhausted.
“It’s very tough, but it helps that it’s such a good team. Everyone comes together to get through it, and it’s important everyone has their own little thing, like me with my singing.
“After I got my degree in music production and was working in an office, I realised I wanted to do something to help people, it felt like a calling. My two loves are nursing and music so to combine the two singing with an NHS choir was perfect.”
You can follow Vicky here @v_greavsie