Singer’s poignant track pays tribute to the brother who went from David Beckham lookalike to death from alcoholism within 10 years.
Henry Maybury and (inset) his brother Tom
Henry Maybury looked up to his handsome big brother.
They loved to banter about football, with Tom teasing Henry about his love of Aston Villa. Last month, Tom would have been celebrating his 31st birthday with his family. If he hadn’t drunk himself to death. At the age of 29.
“To see my brother go from a David Beckham lookalike to someone who shook all the time and could barely recognise his relatives was completely heartbreaking,” says Henry.
But the 22-year-old is determined that some good should come out of the tragedy. He is campaigning to raise awareness of alcohol addiction, telling others about his brother.
He has written and released a song, Lost Days, to raise money for addiction charities. An accompanying video starts with the message: “Alcohol abuse kills about 2.5 million people each year worldwide. “I witnessed it take over someone I loved and then lost.”
It features a man drinking, and the effect it has on his family, who are begging him to stop. Then there’s the line: “It’s just too late, all we can do is pray.”
The video has proved an internet hit with more than a million views. Celebrities including Lorraine Kelly, John Challis, Adam Woodyatt and Abi Phillips have shown their support.
Henry, from Shrewsbury, explains: “When Tom passed away it was a rough couple of months for everyone. “I was sitting in my bedroom when I came across this song, Lost Days, that I’d written about Tom because I saw what alcohol was doing to him.
“I asked people to take part in the video and auditioned 200 of them on Skype. I did it on a tiny budget and recorded it at Chichester University, where I’ve just graduated in musical theatre. “I uploaded the video and it went viral. Within the first hour I had 200 shares on Facebook and in the first couple of weeks there were more than a million hits on YouTube.
“The most touching response was the people who contacted me to say ‘It really makes you think’.
“I would love the video to be used in schools. I remember being at school when we had people in to talk about subjects like this – but I’d just switch off.“I’d hope the video would get the message across better.
“I was asked to speak at a DrugFam conference at the Holiday Inn at Birmingham Airport, to help the families of those with drug and alcohol addiction. They said the video could save lives.”
Tom Maybury died on February 22, 2013 in Royal Shrewsbury Hospital from liver and kidney failure and alcohol poisoning. He was the eldest son of Neil and Sally and brother to Toby, Natasha and Henry.
“My brother had so much going for him. I just don’t want other people to follow in his footsteps,” says Henry. “I’m passionate about spreading the word that it could happen to anyone. “Tom went from being a normal teenager, having a few drinks on a Saturday night, to going to the pub every night and drinking a lot more than two pints.
“He started drinking heavily at the age of 19 but we noticed he had a real problem in his early twenties. You don’t pick up on it at first.
“We don’t know what triggered it, whether he had an addictive gene. He went to agricultural college and had a gardening business, but he lost his licence because of drink-driving and the work dried up. So he just stayed at home, drinking pretty much continuously. The first thought that went through his head when he woke up was to have a drink – cider and beer, mainly.
“But however much we tried to help, it’s impossible unless they want to be helped. He suffered from epilepsy and would sometimes be hospitalised after a bad fit. His epilepsy medicine would stop working because of the alcohol.
“The ambulance was called on a regular basis. Hospital would dry him out and he would say he wanted to quit, but then the draw was too much and he’d drink again.
“Alcohol is so readily available these days, and cheap. He was dependant on drink for a decade.” Tom was warned by medics that his liver would fail, but the warnings fell on deaf ears. “He was warned that his liver would pack up – and it did,” says Henry.
“It was just so diseased. He had yellow eyes, was shaking continuously and could barely recognise his family. He really suffered at the end. We knew he wasn’t going to get better. He was my big brother. I looked up to him and he always had my back. I want to make sure he’s not been forgotten.
“After I made the video, several people told me ‘Your brother would be so proud of you’. “It’s nerve-racking, telling your story to the world. I wasn’t expecting the support. I’ve always said I want to help people through my music. I have lots more songs in the pipeline, I want to release another video in January and an album called Timeline in 2015.”
Henry and his mother Sally have set up the Lost Days Charitable Aid Trust and a committee to decide where best to send the money raised by downloading the single from iTunes. It includes Professor John Kelly, the first professor for addiction at Harvard University, and Canon Mark Oakley from St Paul’s Cathedral. Henry has done all this despite having his own problems to deal with.
“Music has always been a massive part of my life, but I wanted to be a professional rugby player,” he remembers.
“I was playing 40 hours a week, for Ellesmere School, Shrewsbury Rugby Club and Shropshire. “Then, at the age of 15, I was struck down by arthritis and ended up in a wheelchair. “But I was determined to beat it and within a year I was back on the rugby field. It’s still a problem, one I manage with medication. “It can be painful and make it difficult to walk, but I won’t let it stop me. It has helped me, I think. The music industry is so tough but I am tough too after what I’ve been through.”
For more information and to donate, go to www.henrymaybury.com .
Source: http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/health 2nd November 2014