Cancer victim's charity single

Hywel Jones has terminal cancer. For months, he's been striving to leave a musical legacy which he hopes will help others. Hywel’s dream has just become reality when his song ”Always It's You” was released as a charity single.

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  1. Wales This Week

Do Not Go Gentle: A tribute to Hywel Jones

Hywel Jones with wife Cathy Credit: Cathy Jones

When Wales This Week began filming with Hywel Jones there was a determination not to turn his story into a "misery film". That determination came from Hywel himself. But the aim would not necessarily be easily achieved: Hywel was dying of cancer.

He knew already that his condition was terminal but he hoped that by portraying what he was going through he might be able to help others.

From the first meeting to discuss the programme he displayed all the same qualities he would reveal on camera: courage, honesty and humour.

You could not make a misery film with Hywel.

For six months we filmed with him, following him even to his appointments with his consultant.

In January, on camera, he was told he would probably live for only another six months.

Hywel wanted our programme to present the truth. This was the starkest truth. The prognosis turned out to be correct.

On Wednesday, July 4, at 1.30pm Hywel died.

It is not easy to write a tribute to someone like Hywel. That might seem a strange thing to say about someone who enriched so many lives but I'll explain what I mean later.

When we started filming 'Do Not Go Gentle' Hywel was working on a song with his friend Rod Thomas.

It was a love song to his wife, Cathy, and he wanted the song to be recorded by singer-songwriter Donna Lewis. They had once been in a band together.

Hywel contacted Donna in the United States and she agreed to sing it.

Then, through incredible determination, he got Grammy Award-winning producer Trevor Horn to produce it. Hywel aimed high and he hit his target. The song, 'Always It's You', is now on sale to raise funds for Tenovus.

Hywel also wrote a blog and used Twitter to talk about his cancer. His final tweet described how he had been admitted to a hospice in Pontypridd so that doctors could deal with his pain.

He didn't get to go home again.

Donna came from the United States to visit her family and saw him before he died. Wales This Week was there too. In the end the cameras stood back.

The words of another song come to me when I think of Hywel. "Let your mind rest easy, sleep well my friend/It's only our bodies that betray us in the end". That's a song about how the spirit of people who do something, create something, lives on.

Hywel was not defeated by cancer. It was always going to kill him but it never changed his determination to do what he wanted to do.

It never took away his zest for life, his honesty or his wicked sense of humour - that was still sharp and vital to the end.

Hywel's family felt that he was at peace in the final hours. A serenity he deserved. And he died when he was ready to die: after he had said goodbye to his mother and while listening to his song, 'Always It's You'.

The way he lived his life and what he did with it is what really matters. Hywel created his own epitaph in the way he will be remembered by others.

That is why it is so difficult to write a tribute to Hywel. He did it so much better himself.

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  1. Wales This Week

Wales This Week: Do Not Go Gentle

Welshman Hywel Jones, who is dying of cancer, hopes a song he has written will raise thousands of pounds to help others.

Hywel has spent five years fighting the disease but was told in January that the cancer had spread further; at that point he was given only months to live.

Despite this setback, Hywel continued to follow his dream and made contact with an old friend Donna Lewis, a singer-songwriter who has had a great deal of success in America.

The song has now been released with the profits going to Welsh cancer charity Tenovus.

Hywel’s journey features in a film by the award-winning current affairs programme Wales This Week, called “Do Not Go Gentle” which can be seen tonight (Tuesday) at 7:30 on ITV1 Wales and at 8:30 on the ITV1 +1 service in Wales.

  1. Wales This Week

Cancer victim writes charity single

Wales This Week has spent the last six months filming with Hywel Jones, who despite battling terminal cancer has been striving to leave a musical legacy to help others.

Hywel, 53, from Llantwit Fardre, near Pontypridd, has spent five years fighting the disease but In January, as our team filmed with him, he was told the cancer had spread further and he was given only months to live.

Hywel had a dream. And, despite his worsening condition, he was determined to fulfil it.

Last year he wrote a song with a friend Rod Thomas. “Always It’s You” is a love song for Hywel’s wife Cathy. And through social networking and a blog Hywel had been writing about his cancer, he found a platinum-selling artist to record the song.

“I had a message from Donna Lewis, who’s a Cardiff singer-songwriter... I used to play drums in a band with her a long time ago in Cardiff...We’d emailed each other a few times and then I thought she would be perfect to do the song.” - Hywel Jones

Donna, who has moved to the United States, recorded the single at her studio in Upstate New York. Hywel then persuaded one of the world’s leading record producers, Grammy Award winner Trevor Horn, to mix the song.

Mr Horn, who has worked with many of the leading artists of the last 30 years, including Cher and Tina Turner, quickly agreed to help.

The song has now been released with the profits going to Welsh cancer charity Tenovus.

Hywel’s journey features in a film by the award-winning current affairs programme Wales This Week, called “Do Not Go Gentle”. It is on at 7.30pm tomorrow (Tuesday) on ITV Wales.

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