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Soul legend Beverley Knight explains why her NHS charity fundraising single is so important to her

Have you always been a Bill Withers fan? It’s a timely choice of song…

Yes, in a way that none of us expected. It just so happened in the middle of this, Bill Withers passed away. I took it as a sign we were supposed to use the song. I’ve always loved Bill Withers — songwriting-wise he’s someone I come back to when you want to convey something simple in a simple way. He’s the master of that.

Your brother and mum went down with suspected Covid-19 — how are they now?

They’re much better. They had it six weeks ago. My brother started to feel ill in the second week of March. It took him a while to recover — and he’s a fit guy. My mum was very, very ill. We were terrified. She’s much better now but still recovering. Luckily they didn’t have to go to hospital.

Presumably with social isolation you weren’t allowed to visit her?

No, I haven’t seen my mum since February. All my family live in Wolverhampton and I’m in London so we see each other on FaceTime. That’s the hardest thing about this lockdown. The freedom not to be able to pop out when you fancy it is one thing but to not be able to see your seriously ill mum is a different ball game.

The master: Bill Withers died in March

Your family work in the NHS — are you worried about them?

My sister works for NHS 111 and she was able to tell us what to do when my mum became ill. My aunts are nurses, two of my uncles work as mental health nurses, I have umpteen cousins who work in the NHS. I’m worried about them working in walk-in centres and hospitals and going about their normal business. I’m safe at home from it all and they’re going out every day to work with people who are very ill.

How do you deal with worrying about them?

I’m generally quite an upbeat person — the glass is half full. But every morning I go out into my garden and stand there in my bare feet facing the sun for a few minutes just to be still, breathe and appreciate the day. When I first heard about it I thought it sounded a bit hippy-dippy but it’s a good way to start the day.

How are you keeping busy under lockdown?

I’ve been working with Dave Stewart who is self-isolating in the Bahamas. And then the idea for this single came up so I’ve been putting all my energy into this.

Lean On Me by NHS Relief, on which Knight leads a cast of guest vocalists, is out now.