Cath O’Neill was in hospital listening to the Chris Evans Breakfast show on April 25th when she heard Ben Buddy Slack talking about The Swan Song Project, A charity that helps people with terminal illnesses to write and record an original song. Cath had recently been diagnosed with T4 Stomach Cancer and loved the idea of writing a song for her 9 year old Grandson Rufus.


She got in touch through the charity’s website and a quickly had her first songwriting session over zoom. In the session she shared how she wanted the song to be inspirational for Rufus and be inspired by Chumbawambas hit song “Tubthumping” (“I get knocked down, but I get up again, You’re never gonna keep me down”) which has always been a big favourite of hers.

Over 2 sessions herself and Ben put together some lyrics of the messages she wanted Rufus to always be able to remember and be inspired by. Many are things that Cath has lived her own life by and have always served her well.

The Swan Song Project has a team of musicians who help with composing the songs in whatever style the writer wants. For this one they decided to reach out to Chumbawamba founding member and songwriter Boff Whalley who had appeared on the charity’s podcast the previous year and been very supportive of it’s work. Boff responded quickly saying he would be happy to help and was “very flattered that their song means so much to people”. Ben sent him Caths lyrics and a week later he came back with a beautiful song featuring a spoken word section recorded by Cath herself telling Rufus how much he means to her.

You can hear the song in full on The Swan Song Project website –

Cath was thrilled to hear the writer of one of her favourite songs was helping with her own song. Upon hearing it she said it was “Perfect in every way” and was excited to share it with Rufus. She added:

“It was very important for me to leave some inspirational words for my Grandson Rufus.

I’m so glad I did this and definitely recommend it to others.

They will help you put together your song and might even surprise you as they did me with Boff Whalley from CHUMBAWAMBA!” 

Swan Song Founder Ben Buddy Slack said:

“I was so happy when Boff agreed to help out with the song. I knew it would be so exciting for Cath and who better to create something inspired by Tubthumbing than the guy who wrote it. At Swan Song we always try and make the songs and experiences as special as possible for the people we work with and this one has felt very special. We hope Rufus enjoys the song for many years to come.”

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