A short while ago, I received a message from Doris Brendel informing me of a new project that she was starting to put together for a very worthy cause. This cause is Reunite, a charity formed in 1986 that is now recognised as the leading U.K. charity specialising in international parental child abduction and the movement of children across international borders.
Doris had been in contact with a chap called Neil who Reunite had been helping after losing his daughter Emily. Doris has done an incredible job of pulling this together and with help from Sam Blue, Dave Beeson, Sparkie Dalton and Mike Wesson a song has been produced, which is aptly titled ‘Emily.’ This track will soon be released to raise funds for the Reunite charity and spread awareness of all it stands for. I recently had a little chat with Neil…
Q: Could you tell me a little about how this all started?
A: It started with a MySpace conversation about my TV projects and [Doris’s] new album. I said I’d always been a writer and I’d love nothing more than to have the skills to write a song for Emily, so she knows how much I love her. Doris simply said “Let’s do it then” and I set to work on the lyrics. The rest really is down to her and although I’ve written lyrics before, it was never with so much personal emotion attached and never flying blind without having a melody to work with and put words to. I had no idea what it would sound like, but she has done an amazing job, as have all involved.
Special thanks need to go to Sam Blue for coming on board as well. His vocals really do make it feel like I am speaking directly to Emily and all the other children who have been taken from their parents.
Q: Could you give us a little bit of information about Reunite and its aims/objectives?
A: Here is some information Reunite gave me for press releases …
Reunite International Child Abduction Centre is the leading UK charity specializing in international parental child abduction and the movement of children across international borders.
They operate a 24-hour advice line and offer practical, impartial advice, information and support to parents, family members and guardians whose children have been abducted or who fear abduction. The reunite Child Abduction Prevention Guide provides clear and concise information and practical steps to take if a parent fears their child is at risk of abduction.
Reunite also provides advice and information to parents who may have abducted their children, and assists and advises in international contact issues and relocation cases.
They also offer a mediation service to assist parents in making informed decisions which are focused on the best interests of their child and family as a whole. For more information about reunite and the services they offer, go to http://www.reunite.org
Q: What is your involvement with Reunite?
A: I got involved with Reunite through a judge giving me their details. I can’t really say any more on this because of the legal situation.
Q: What drew you to working with Reunite?
A: What drew me into getting involved with them? Well, again, I have to be careful what I say, but I am more of a client than an associate. In terms of motivation to raise money for them there was a low point last December. I can’t really explain everything that was going on, but I was very very low, far from my usual bullet-proof self. Another Christmas without my daughter was adding to all this, but one phone call to Reunite and within a week they had made some calls and all of a sudden some glimmers of hope emerged. You might say it is an exaggeration to say they saved my life – I would not.
It was Doris who suggested that money raised from the song should be used to help them after I’d praised them so highly. The song is also an obvious way to raise the issue of child abduction. Many parents are in the same position, with on-going legal battles, and so unable to talk about their children. It may be called Emily’s Song, but it is a song for all these children and their parents. If we can chart the song these children will get a voice. And wait ’til you see what the video will look like. Suddenly all the lyrics will really come to life!
Q: From your experience and involvement, what is the best way that people can help?
A: Reunite is a registered charity, so they will welcome any donations to help them maintain their help line. The simplest thing is to download a copy of Emily’s Song when it is released. Not only does it raise money for the charity, but if we get enough downloads to chart, it will bring these children to the public eye. And what would you prefer as the Christmas number one, the X-Factor winner (No offense to the X-Factor contestants, but let’s have something with a story at number one), or Sam Blue, Doris and the band on Top of the Pops as a thank you for putting all this together?
Q: Have there been many successful reunions?
A: Yes, there have been some happy endings. Reunite work closely with the child abduction department at the FCO, and together they do a remarkable job. More and more countries have signed up to the Hague Convention, which is reducing the complications and removing some barriers. Again, if we make a big enough noise internationally we can help. This is where people like me and Emily’s Song raising the issue, and people downloading to give us a more powerful lobby can help.
Q: I may not be a parent myself and can only imagine the pain caused by abduction – how do people cope and, again, what is the best form of support that we can give?
A: This is the toughest question to answer because I have to be careful what I say. I well up with tears whenever I hear a child (of a similar age to Emily when I last saw her) cry. Some days I have to put all the photo’s face down because I want to cry for her. I don’t know what she is doing. If she remembers me. There is the frustration of feeling totally helpless, and anger when you feel that people who could help aren’t. Worst of all there is the guilt. The feeling that somehow you have let her down. That there might have been something you could have done differently, and the nightmares I get every night without fail about what could be happening to her.
What keeps me going is the tears my mother shed before she died of cancer because she never got a chance to say goodbye to Emily. She gripped my hand and made me promise not to give up. Two days later she was gone.
Please show support and click ‘Like’ at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reunite-charity-campaign-featuring-Emilys-Song/142353682474038?ref=ts
Also, become a fan and have a listen to the song at: http://www.reverbnation.com/reunitecharitycampaignfeaturingemilyssongbysamblue