By Oliver Hodgson and Rachael Grealish
The Cumbrian actor, Billy Walker, has raised over £11,000 for Hospice At Home West Cumbria after entertaining care home residents during lockdown.
From April the 38-year-old has safely completed 65 gigs in the region, before finally being able to resume his career in America.
One of the care homes Billy serenaded Bellcare Domiciliary Care Services, in Workington, on June 8, where staff dubbed ‘a true entertainer and hero’ as he sang a mixture of songs and danced around their car park.
Debbie Ellwood, Bellcare Domiciliary Care Service’s acting manager, said: “As soon as I saw what Billy was doing in the area, I just knew we had to secure a performance, he is a truly remarkable local hero.
“Bellcare is a large firm and I knew we could invite no more than ten clients to maintain the appropriate social distancing measures, it was a difficult choice as they all deserved a treat, but I chose ten service users who lived alone and hadn’t been out of their homes in weeks.
“All the stress of the weeks prior faded when Billy began his performance and the pain and worries of our service users were put to the back of their minds for an hour, it was beautiful to see.
“As I looked around the car park, everyone was happy, smiling and having fun. He was absolutely amazing, and he is our lockdown king.”
Billy had previously felt down at the beginning of lockdown, with COVID-19 putting the breaks on his career, but since then said the experience of performing for the residents has been ‘life changing’.
He said: “It’s been life changing and life affirming. I quickly realised following a gig on my estate that I could really make a difference to help people cope during this pandemic, so, I put a hospice bucket in my hand and went out into the community.
“I can safely say that doing this work has saved me and I am eternally grateful for everyone who I have entertained, for allowing me to perform.”
After the 65 socially distanced gigs and £11,447.58 raised for Hospice at Home later Billy is now escaping the wet Cumbria weather and flying back to Los Angeles to get back to work.