A songwriter who was told by doctors that he may lose his voice forever has beaten cancer to sing on his own charity single.
Father of five Ray Coates was diagnosed with cancer of the tonsils and lymph nodes in 2008, after finding a lump on his neck.
The driving instructor, 48, who lives in Mount Street, Aylesbury, could not speak, and lost his ability to taste for almost a year while undergoing rounds of aggressive treatment for the disease.
During that time he stopped writing songs altogether. But when his voice started to return he picked up his pen again, and started to write music to help inspire other cancer suffers.
Ray, who got the all-clear in September last year, said: “I have limited movement in my jaw which is a big thing for a singer.
“But the joy of being able to put your emotions into music is like getting a second chance. It is a very nice feeling to begin to create a body of work.
“That’s my goal before whatever happens happens, to leave an imprint of me behind.”
Ray’s confidence grew when he met music producer Glyn Devey, 40, who runs Compass Studios in Elmhurst Road.
The pair began recording Ray’s music and his first emotional single, The Voice Within, is released on iTunes this year in aid of Cancer Research UK.
And Ray hopes the song, and accompanying video, will help to inspire other cancer sufferers to express how they are feeling.
Ray, whose treatment included major surgery to remove the tumour, said: “One of the key lines in the song is ‘let this be for you’.
“I don’t consider myself to be unique in any way, I don’t remember ‘battling against cancer’ it’s just something I did. But if I can get up and do this, anyone can.
“I look at myself now, and then where I was and I think it’s almost like a different life. There is hope.”
Ray will speak at the launch night for Cancer Research UK’s Relay For Life event at Aylesbury Rugby Club on Wednesday. He performed at the Candle of Hope Ceremony after the event last year. For more visit www.relayforlifeaylesbury.org