Bassetlaw Hospital's singing ‘porter Andre’ is a real diamond
A singing porter at Bassetlaw Hospital who does a mean Neil Diamond impression serenades patients with renditions of their favourite songs.
Andre Fisher, 66, has been singing his entire life - performing in working men’s clubs and weddings but starting out as a youngster at the St Paul’s and Priory church choirs.
However the former window maker was never able to showcase his impressive vocal chords at work until he started working at the Worksop hospital four years ago.
Grandfather-of-one Andre, from Manton, is well known throughout Worksop for his cracking crooning skills.
But as his fame quickly spread throughout the hospital while belting out classic hits from Elvis, John Denver and many others as he went about his work on the ward he caught the ear of an activities coordinator for elderly patients.
Using his trusty karaoke machine Andre - who hospital staff affectionately call ‘porter Andre’ - now regularly performs songs by patients’ favourite artists.
Though the skilful songster admits he needs no excuse to pick up the microphone he often takes to the stage to mark national occasions at the hospital - such as Christmas or Country Music Day.
Andre said: “People knew about my singing and someone said something to the activities coordinator so she asked me to come and sing.
“The first one we did was in the hospital garden - we brought the patients out in their wheelchairs and it was such a success.
“There was one patient who had had a stroke and hadn’t moved a muscle for three months who started tapping his foot - it all went from there.”
Andre - who performs outside of his set work hours in his own time - normally sings for about an hour-and-a-half.
Though Neil Diamond is a firm favourite - as Andre shares a birthday with the 79-year-old legend who he jokingly says ‘looks a bit like me’ - he takes requests from patients.
After studying performances on YouTube he delivers his own interpretation at the hospital to the delight of both staff and patients.
Andre said: “I get a lot of pleasure from people liking my singing - when they enjoy it I enjoy it.
“It’s a lovely atmosphere - patients often come up and say what a good idea it is.
“There was one occasion when a lady was in tears while visiting her husband so we persuaded them to come and listen.
“Then she was in tears over my singing”.
Speaking about Andre, Dawn Claire, activities coordinator, described the piping porter as a ‘diamond’.
“Patients who watch Andre sing often don’t want to go home.
“My job is to get patients active and out of their beds and I’ve gone from being discharge coordinator to the person who keeps them in hospital.
“We have had fans who refused to go home because they want to listen to Andre.
“He’ done so much to help me - from singing country and western in the hospital garden to performing a Christmas concert in the chapel.”