The cousin of a young Hartlepool man who tragically died on a fishing trip has written a poignant song to help remember him and raise money for the lifeboats service that tried to save him.
Brett Ramshaw composed Shining Tonight in tribute to Lee Renney, 22, who died after falling into the sea after getting is foot tangled in a rope on September 2.
A massive land and sea rescue operation was launched – with Hartlepool RNLI lifeboat crews joined at the scene by an air ambulance and police – but Lee could not be saved.
Brett, 33, who works for Virgin Media, has posted a video of him performing the song with Kyle Cullen, who is also Lee’s cousin, on YouTube.
Brett said: “I wanted to write something true to Lee and to ensure that he would always be remembered. The song took about three days to compose but this was spread out over the course of a week, as it was difficult to relive what had happened each time.
“I had to force myself to complete it. The whole family is devastated after losing Lee but when his brother Michael shared the song with them, there were tears all around and they told me it was beautiful.
It will give our family great comfort to know that Lee will live on through the song and that his life wasn’t in vainBrett Ramshaw
“I was so relieved as I wanted it to be something they could use to feel closer to him.”
The poignant song contains the lines ‘Your life is your light, so make sure you’re living it right. You look over your shoulder, one day it’ll be over, so make sure your shining tonight’.
Paying tribute to Lee, Brett added: “Lee was very family oriented and loving and was always seen with a cheeky smile on his face.
“He was a genuine free spirit growing up and loved being outdoors. I will treasure the holidays we had together growing up and each Christmas I spent with him and his brother Michael.”
Brett is asking people who like the song to click on a link and make a donation to the RNLI.
He said: “As a fisherman, Lee knew how vital the RNLI was and the whole family can’t thank the charity enough for their determined efforts in trying to save his life. We are also hugely grateful to all the other agencies that joined the rescue.
“It will give our family great comfort to know that Lee will live on through the song and that his life wasn’t in vain. If people are inspired to donate, that would mean the world too.”
Mike Craddy, Hartlepool RNLI’s Volunteer Lifeboat Operations Manager, said: “It is very thoughtful of Brett and his family to request that money raised by the song should be donated to the RNLI. At what is still such a difficult time for Lee’s family, for them to support us in this way is incredibly humbling.
“It means a huge amount to our volunteer crew at Hartlepool. Shining Tonight is a special song and it’s all the more special knowing that if people donate after hearing it, they’ll be providing a vital and lasting lifeline to our charity.”
To listen to Shining Tonight visit: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=AnJ2jcu1lEE
Donations can be made via: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/leerenney