One of the most iconic and enduring figures from the world of 1970’s pop music, Merrill Osmond completed not only his UK tour but ended his decades long career of live appearances by playing at a special charity function at the Newcastle Gateshead Hilton.
With a string of hits including Crazy Horses, Love me for a Reason, Havin’ a Party and One Bad Apple, Merrill and his band entertained more than 250 supporters of Gateshead based charity CUREUsher for an hour and mingled with fans at their fundraising ball.
CUREUsher was formed by inspirational mum of two Jo Milne who has Usher syndrome, a condition which affects both hearing and vision. In 2014, Joanne became a worldwide internet sensation when she was filmed receiving her cochlear implants and was seen being able to hear for the first time in her life. Since then, she has travelled the world helping others and lobbied tirelessly with politicians and health decision makers to raise awareness of the condition.
Her high-profile campaigning reached the Osmond family in the USA who themselves have deaf family members and run their own charity for which Joanne was asked to be a worldwide ambassador. The relationship with Merrill grew and he offered to donate his time to help Joanne raise funds by playing at the charity ball.
“We are truly honoured that Merrill and his band have given up their time to help us and it’s even more special as this is his very last public performance,” said Jo who runs the charity with husband Stephen.
“Right now, there is no cure but with the right funding and research we will get there. This is our main focus as Usher syndrome is one of the cruellest genetic conditions as it affects both a person’s hearing and sight. With the type of support, we have received tonight our dream is very much achievable, “said Joanne.