Rex, the fundraiser musician with his muse, Louisa

When Rex Martey signed his first ever record deal aged 82, he was fulfilling his dream of over 60 years. Rex made his incredible achievement even more special by generously donating part of his album sales to Guy’s and St Thomas’, the hospital that’s cared for him for almost four decades.

Rex the fundraiser musician with his muse, nurse Louisa
Rex the fundraiser musician with his muse, nurse Louisa

Kind-hearted Rex has dedicated one of the songs on his album to lead urology clinical nurse specialist Louisa Fleure, the nurse who has primarily cared for him at Guy’s.

Rex’s story

Rex has prostate cancer. He is currently in a stable condition but remains under the care of Guy’s renal and urology services and has dialysis three times a week.

‘Every treatment has been done! You name it, Guy’s and St Thomas’ has sorted it out,’ says Rex. ‘The care has been brilliant. I have had more health problems than any other person I know and it’s always been sorted.

‘I always say to people, if it wasn’t for Guy’s and St Thomas’, I would be dead.’

A dream come true

Rex, who is originally from Ghana, is a singer and saxophonist. He has been performing in pubs and clubs across London for more than 60 years and says it’s ‘a dream come true’ to have his album, African Touring Holiday, released.

‘Ten years ago, my health was deteriorating. I remember saying to a clinician at Guy’s and St Thomas’ that I wanted to get an album out there, to show that I have been here,’ says Rex. ‘ With this album, I truly am realising my dreams.

‘The music I played in the old days was called High Life; it comes from West Africa. High Life didn’t used to be popular, but now the second generation of Africans have adopted it.

‘Nowadays the young people have a different name for it - Afrobeat.’

Honouring a special nurse

Track 4 of Rex’s album is called ‘My Louisa’, which is the song he’s dedicated to his nurse Louisa Fleure at Guy’s and St Thomas’.

‘One day I was coming home from the hospital and I was thinking about how sweet and how helpful Louisa was, and such a lovely lady,’ says Rex. ‘I told my wife that I wanted to write a song about her, and she was happy with that.’

Louisa is understandably very proud to have been recognised by Rex in this way.

‘I love the song, it’s absolutely brilliant,’ she says. ‘I’m really honoured that Rex did it, I think it’s lovely. And I’m also honoured that his wife is happy with it!’

Half of the sales of Rex’s triumphant first album will go to Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity.

‘I’ve taken so much out of Guy’s and St Thomas,’ says Rex. ‘I feel like I should give something back.’

African Touring Holiday is available on Bandcamp as well as Amazon. The album can also be found on Spotify.

2020 is International Year of the Nurse and Midwife. You can honour a nurse or midwife at Guy’s and St Thomas’ like Rex has, or raise money for Guy’s Cancer, by taking part in Walk50. This special event starts on 27 June and continues through the night, finishing at Guy’s Hospital the morning that the Cancer Survivors’ Day celebrations kick off.

If you’d like to take part in Walk50 and experience an urban night hike of London, past some of the city’s most famous sights - register here.