Phil Mellen was the deputy director of Children and Families at Leeds City Council when he got coronavirus in March 2020 just before the first national lockdown was brought in.
He thought he would be off work for just a couple of weeks and return to the office, but ended up in hospital seriously ill for at least six weeks and was left with further long-term health issues caused by the virus.
It meant the father of three, would not be able to return to work and the daily commute he made from his home in Manchester to Leeds so in August 2020, took redundancy and walked away from a career in education that had spanned more than 25 years.
He took back up again a passion for music, which had been put on the backburner due to work and family commitments, and signed a five-year deal with Wobbly Music, that will see him produce three albums and play live gigs.
Working under the name BlackSheepLad he has penned and released the single "Better this Christmas" and half of the proceeds from the song will be going to the Covid:Aid Charity.
As a modern charity, it also acts as a platform for other charities, healthcare providers, grassroots groups, and other organisations to inform and promote the advice and services they have for issues such as Long Covid, grief and bereavement, trauma, vaccines, protection measures, and financial hardship.
The song was originally released in 2020, but now has extra brass parts and has been remixed and mastered by Lynn Monk at Wobbly Music’s Bakehouse studio.
Mr Mellen said: "I know how Covid-19 can affect your health, lifestyle, and your work, so I am delighted that this lovely Christmas song can help to raise some funds to support those who have been adversely affected by the pandemic. Please stream, download, buy and play it; and support a great cause at the same time.”
A spokesperson for Covid:aid said: "By working together, we look toward a future in which every person in the UK can easily find and access the vital support they need to overcome the traumatic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
"We are delighted that BlackSheepLad is releasing this Christmas single to raise funds for our many projects and look forward to seeing it being played in lots of places."
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