Prisoners release touching tribute to David "DD" Langton-Gilks
A MOVING tribute to a brave teenager has been released as a charity single recorded by serving UK prisoners touched by the story of 16 year-old David "DD" Langton-Gilks, who battled a brain tumour for five years.
DD, a pupil at Shaftesbury School and before that at Fontmell Magna Primary School, died last August after five gruelling years of cancer treatment and brain procedures.
Told by doctors that he had very little time left, he bravely gave media interviews in a bid to promote HeadSmart, which campaigns for earlier diagnosis of children's brain tumours by raising awareness of symptoms in schools, nurseries and health professionals to limit long term disabilities and, ultimately, save lives.
On Monday at 11am, many of David's friends and family gathered at Shaftesbury School to officially launch the single, Song for DD by Bigger than Us (and released on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify on Monday) to coincide with Brain Tumour Awareness Month, and proceeds will be split between The Brain Tumour Charity's HeadSmart campaign, for which DD's mum, Sacha Langton-Gilks, has become local champion, and CLIC Sargent, who provided the family with financial, practical and emotional support from the point of diagnosis onwards.
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Speaking at the launch DD's mum said: "I can't stand the thought of other families going through what we did especially when something can be done about it.
"HeadSmart is working on its campaign in getting the information (credit card-sized brain tumour symptom cards) out to all families and children, as it is incredibly important."
She then went on to thank the school and David's friends: "I didn't realise how important they were in keeping me going, and to be able to have the launch here, David would have loved it as he loved it here very, very much. His only regret was not being able to do his A levels and going to university. So, go and live your dreams as that's what he would want you to do. And please enjoy the song!"
The song was written and performed by the prisoners at HMP Guys Marsh for their teacher, Toby Langton-Gilks of Fontmell Magna, when they heard his son DD was dying.
They wanted to help as a mark of respect for all Toby had done for them through his Urban Beat Shop music production course.
Mr Langton-Gilks said: "I'm so moved the guys have done this. It's a great song, and when people download it, they'll become aware that diagnosing paediatric brain tumours early is absolutely vital, and of the financial and other difficulties families go through when children undergo cancer treatment.
"The Brain Tumour Charity will have the funds to get more HeadSmart early diagnosis cards into the hands of parents, and CLIC Sargent will be able to provide more vital support to families going through the same challenges we did."
Dean Stacey, a former prisoner and pupil of Mr Langton-Gilks' who has since landed a recording contract, said: "Taking part was a great opportunity to keep busy and learn a new skill. Toby was so supportive, so I'm glad to be able to repay his kindness by supporting the Song for DD, a wonderful way of honouring his memory and raising funds for two charities that supported him and his family."
Typical symptoms of brain tumour in children and young people include:
Persistent or recurring vomiting, persistent or recurring headaches, deteriorating vision, blurred or double vision, poor balance and coordination, abnormal eye movements, fits or seizures, behavioural changes, especially tiredness.
To find out more go to www.HeadSmart.org.uk or www.thebraintumourcharity.org or www.clicsargent.org.uk