I have several friends (plus myself) celebrating the same milestone birthday in the next year, and Alex is the first of them. I met Alex when we were ten years old, which means we’ve known each other almost thirty years. One of the first things that stood out about her? She has a beautiful singing voice. Our music teacher recorded Alex singing the Carpenters’ “The End of the World” and I thought it was amazing. She would sing at the school’s Christmas and summer concerts, and later in churches. Our teacher introduced her once by saying she had a future in singing, and I agreed completely. I particularly love to hear her version of Hillsong’s “Just let me Say”, and when I wrote the song “One” (with a verse about enduring friendship), there was no one better to duet with.
We shared a difficult time at school, where we helped one another. Thinking of the silly stories we would invent got me through the days and made me smile. We always enjoyed writing together. Our longest play was about characters in the fictional village of Wilde. We wrote it over a period of years when we stayed at each other’s houses. I’m not sure either of us still has the whole thing.
I loved staying with Alex. Everyone was so friendly, I always felt like part of the family. One year, as new year’s eve approached, her cousin spent days with us, teaching us dances like “Saturday Night” and “The Time Warp” ready for the party. After the big night, Alex’s dad (who was so funny) said to me in his Welsh accent: “You were in time. Might’ve been pointin’ the wrong direction, mind”.
Alex introduced me to Queen when she came back after one Christmas holiday with a copy of their “Greatest Hits”, and my obsession with them skyrocketed after that. She also introduced me to Formula One. We both loved Murray Walker’s commentary, and our poem about an upcoming British Grand Prix made it into my local newspaper. In 2016, when I heard Damon Hill was speaking at a nearby hotel, I knew Alex had always been more of a fan than me and I couldn’t possibly go without her – a great night. When she supported the dominant Michael Schumacher, I felt sorry for his little brother Ralf. I’m wondering if that rivalry will resurface, now that Michael’s son Mick is in Formula Two and Ralf’s son David in Formula Three. They might race against each other one day.
It was at Alex’s church in Wales that I became a Christian. Nowadays I don’t hear her sing as much, although she is on the worship team at her church, far more proficient on piano than me. Alex spends a lot of time on her Worship Unlimited radio-show, and the accompanying Worship Unlimited Ministries website. If I release a new CD, she’s the first to play it.
Thanks, Alex, for being there through good times and bad. So many times you’ve championed me, but today I thought I’d give you the spotlight.