6th November 2020

Lung Cancer is Still Here: Tony Connelly

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Following the passing of his best friend from lung cancer, Tony wanted to pay tribute to Colin using the things he loves to do the most. Now, musician Tony’s Scottish rock band are releasing a track dedicated in his friend’s memory.

Tony and Colin.

“I met Colin back in the early 90s through friends of friends. Colin was like a big brother to me, a really genuine guy, had great laugh and kind. He would do anything for his friends. We had similar taste in music and ended up hanging around together more often through time. We would go out a Friday and Saturday night and normally end up in a club called Capos, where Colin’s girlfriend (and future wife, Mags) worked. They ended up getting married in 1995 and I was his best man. I returned the favour later that year when I got married.

I hadn’t spoken to Colin for a few months when he called up one day asking about the West Highland Way. I told him about some charity walks I was doing, and he asked if he could come out on one, but could we make it an easier one to get him started.

It was on the drive up to do the walk that Colin told me that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer and how bad it was. That’s the kind of guy he was, he had just been told he had lung cancer, but decided to go on a hill walk! He would have been 48 when he was diagnosed. He never let anything get him down and just went with the flow, always being positive and wanted to get on with it, never feeling sorry for himself. He managed the walk and we did some more when he was feeling up to it.

Our last day/night out was 30th December 2016 was a gig in Glasgow whilst Colin was in the middle of chemotherapy. Although he knew he shouldn’t, first thing he did when he went into a bar was order a Guinness! He told me it was “full of iron”.

We had a great night. He chatted away with my friends in the bar before we walked about a mile to the gig venue. He managed to enjoy the whole concert whilst standing and then managed another long walk back to the train station. On the way home I could tell he was exhausted, but we had a great night. He passed away just over a month later on the 6th February.

I remember telling my friends who had been on that night out and they were shocked. They couldn’t believe it as he had been out all night at a gig having a great time with them.

When Colin passed away, I decided I would do the Three Peaks Challenge in his memory and for Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, who had been mentioned to me by his wife as she was doing a lot of running for the charity.  

After completing the Three Peaks Challenge, I decided to do something each year in Colin’s memory and in support of the charity and have done numerous treks since.

I play bass for a pop/rock band called The Fade and having already released a first album and we’ve currently recorded nearly eight songs for a new album which we plan to release at the beginning of 2021.

Singer Raymond and guitarist Reece wanted to do a ballad style song for the album and wanted to keep it very simple with mainly vocals and piano. I told them I always wanted to write a song for Colin with a very sombre melody. Between us we came up with a song about losing someone close to you with all this taking place with me halfway up a mountain!

When I heard the first mix of the song, titled Stronger, I’m not ashamed to say I cried as it just fitted with what I was doing and how I felt about Colin. The rest of the band agreed to dedicate the song to Colin on the album and even said we could look to release it as a single and anything raised could go to Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation. We’re just a small band from Scotland so we don’t know how much it will raise but it’s the kind of thing now where I’ll say let’s give it a go, again something I got from Colin.

It was very emotional recording Stronger and filming the video, and although it has a sombre melody we hope it brings a bit of joy to people. Colin hated to see anybody sad or depressed.”

I miss Colin’s positivity, his good nature and just the general nonsense we would talk about. He was such a friendly, genuine person. Although he had lots of hardships and struggles throughout his life, he was probably the most positive person I’ve ever met. I really miss not having more time with him and the last few months we had reminded me how life is so short, and we need to get out and enjoy it.”

The Fade’s new EP Stronger is available to purchase and stream on all major platforms now in support of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation. The track costs 99p and all proceeds go to the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.

iTunes: here

Amazon: here

Bandcamp: here