TELL Jimmy Higham he would one day knock international singing superstar Alicia Keys off the top of the charts and he’d have laughed in your face.
But that is exactly what has happened – the tragic thing is he isn’t around to see it.
Jimmy, a former pupil at Rossall School, died from a rare form of testicular cancer a year ago at the age of 26.
But a recording of him singing, released to raise money for charity, has proved so popular that at the weekend he topped the iTunes R&B charts – and hit number 41 in the official UK singles chart.
Dad Colin, said: “I’m so proud of my son but I tell you now that Jimmy would have been really embarrassed by all this – and he wouldn’t have believed it either. He loved rugby and all sports, but we didn’t have a clue he could sing.
“First time this song got played to me I honestly didn’t think it was him.”
Jimmy, who used to skipper the rugby team at Rossall, where he was a house captain, recorded a cover of the Stevie Wonder hit Isn’t She Lovely three years ago, before he fell ill.
A friend decided to put the song on iTunes, with any money raised going towards Jimmy’s Bursary Fund, a charity set up to enable children from the North West to attend Wellington College in Berkshire, where Jimmy was teaching PE throughout his battle with cancer.
Colin added: “We’re stunned by how many people have brought it and with the first anniversary of his death approaching, it has really given the family a diversion and given us something to celebrate really.”
A staggering £140,000 has been raised for the bursary fund so far, with more coming in every day thanks to the success of the song.
Jimmy left Rossall in 2004 but is still fondly remembered by staff at the school, who have also held fund-raising events in his memory.
Guy Emmett, Rossall teacher, house parent and sports coach, said: “Jimmy was not only a natural athlete and a born rugby player, he was also an incredibly bright academic student and an outstanding historian.
“He had the talent to succeed in any environment and was a wonderfully talented and gifted young man.”
The song can be bought at www.itunes.apple.com/gb/album/isnt-she-lovely-single/id580686040