Anytime You Need A Friend: NHS choir releases incredible home-recorded single backed by Mariah Carey

As well as working on the coronavirus frontline, NHS staff are also bringing hope and comfort to anyone feeling frightened or worried at home.

Workers from dozens of hospitals have posted clips of themselves and colleagues dancing and singing while on breaks, showing how they are keeping each other lifted as they carry out their life-saving work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, members and friends of Breathe Harmony, the Guy's and St Thomas' NHS staff choir run by Breathe Arts Health Research, have recorded their version of Mariah Carey 's 1993 hit Anytime You Need A Friend - with home recordings filmed on mobile phones during coronavirus lockdown, put together to create a rousing and emotional single.

In fact, the recording is so good that it has come to the attention of Carey herself, with the singer tweeting: "This brought tears to my eyes 😢😢 Thank you so much to all the people at NHS. We are so grateful to you 🙏🙏🙏❤️❤️."

Featuring more than 100 musicians and singers, from doctors to porters, from all over the world - everywhere from the UK, Italy, France and Spain to the US, South Africa and Australia - participants have put it together through virtual rehearsals.

The song is now being released as a single, raising funds for two NHS charities .

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Fionnuala Donovan, 34, a highly specialist neurophysiotherapist and one of the choir singers who has recorded for the track, tells Sky News she is proud to be a part of the project.

"We could only see the bits that we were doing at first, I was just doing it in my living room or bedroom at home, so seeing how it's turned out is phenomenal," she says.

"The reaction has been really overwhelming. The fact that it's gone where it has and is now being released is crazy.

"Because we couldn't physically see each other to do our choir rehearsals, which usually is a really good outlet for us from a mental health perspective, it was just a way of us still feeling connected and seeing what we could do."

And now Carey herself is a fan.

"I keep using the word overwhelming, but it really was, finding out she'd seen it," Ms Donovan says.

"Particularly with her being over in America, to have heard about our small little NHS choir and then all the other people that have become involved in it, it was amazing and quite a nice thing to be able to say - that Mariah's spotted your video and it's impacted her."

Because she isn't seeing her usual patients during lockdown, Ms Donovan is currently working on the wards - and says staff are all helping each other.

"I think this is stressful for the whole population, really, not just us," she says. "And one thing I love about the NHS is that we have got this 'all get together and work hard together and make the best of a bad situation' [attitude]. So we try and keep morale up within our team as much as we can.

"And having things like the choir is really helpful. The hospital is very supportive, too. They're setting up wellbeing sites and giving a lot of online and telephone support if anyone is really struggling. It's phenomenal what they're doing.

"I think a big part of it is this is our job, so this is what we do day in, day out.

"Yes, there is this big pandemic so work's changed slightly. But still, the reason a lot of us go into this is because we want to help people and we care. And so we're still doing that.

"In a way, for me, coming into work is a good release because I'm there, I'm actively doing something, rather than sitting and thinking about all the things that are going on. We can actually get in and help people as much as we can."

Breathe Harmony was set up in 2017 and has about 30 regular members, who, before lockdown, rehearsed weekly at St Thomas' Hospital in London - the hospital where Prime Minister Boris Johnson was treated for COVID-19.

The choir is non-auditioned and open to all Guy's and St Thomas' staff.

Since its release on YouTube, their video has been watched more than 35,000 times - and organisers are hoping even more people will hear the song following its official release.

The track has been produced by musical director Mike King, who has worked with artists including Mark Ronson, Florence And The Machine and Boy George, and in collaboration with his MyCool Music Foundation.

Meegan Corne, personal assistant for the trust's oncology directorate management team, says it has been nice to see her friends' faces together while they cannot see each other in person.

"It's been a way to keep in touch with everybody," she says. "It was really nice to watch it for the first time.

"I think everybody was sort of welling up a bit because they're all faces that are really familiar to us, but we haven't necessarily been able to see in a little while. To know that we're all in our own homes, but still together. It's really nice."

Ms Corne, 29, says the song's lyrics have become more meaningful during the pandemic.

"It really well reflected how we were all feeling," she says.

"When we sing in the choir, there's a lot of the songs that we can connect with emotionally. It's a way of expressing ourselves and... it's not until you're singing and you're recording it that you think about some of the words, singing about being miles apart. Actually, it really does reflect the situation we're in."

All proceeds from the single will be divided between Breathe Arts Health Research and MyCool Foundation to deliver arts and health projects to patients and NHS staff, and support the NHS with arts services.

The charity track is available now for download on iTunes, Spotify and Amazon.