Singer Dani and ex councillor dad Danny reunite at Sue Ryder tea party
Singer Dani Wallace could not see her dad, former Preston councillor Danny Gallagher, for a year due to Covid restrictions. But they were reunited at a very special party where she was the entertainer.
Dani Wallace never imagined that the first time she saw her dad in a year she would be serenading him with song.
But that's exactly what happened when Dani was asked to perform at a special tea party to mark the first anniversary of the Sue Ryder Neurological Care Centre in Fulwood.
Her dad Danny Gallagher, a former Preston councillor, is now a long term resident of the centre, following a brain injury sustained in a fall at work in 2016 . He had represented the Larches ward for many years and is an ex leader of the Liberal Democrat group .
Danny, who had moved to Cumbria to manage a luxury holiday lodge centre, fell on a faulty step, spent two weeks in intensive care and 18 months in the Royal Preston Hospital.
He has been a Sue Ryder client for more than three years and was one of the first residents to move into the new Fulwood centre from the former Sue Ryder Centre at Cuerden Hall.
Daughter Dani Wallace, also well known locally as singer Danielle Gallagher before switching to use her married name Wallace, was invited to serenade the tea party.
She said: " It's been really nice. It's been beautiful to be singing and have a little bop in our seats. It was hard not to get choked up."
She sang a range of soul, motown, jazz and 1980s numbers. She said: "It's the first time for the residents here they've had outside entertainment. It was such an honour to be a part of it. Yes it was emotional. It's more of an honour and a blessing."
She continued: "I've not been able to see my dad for a year because of the visiting restrictions. There's only my sister been able to visit and his brothers. We've been able to maintain contact over the phone. This is the first time I've been able to see him properly."
She said her father, who has complex needs and is in a wheelchair, could not understand why she could not hug him, but said: " He's really proud. I've got a picture of us dancing together. He beamed the whole way through."
She continued: "I really credit the staff here how safe they've kept everybody."
For Dani it was also a testing musical moment; "This is the first time I've sung for anybody since March last year...I was really worried I wouldn't remember the words. I managed OK. It was a real feel good afternoon and definitely much needed for the staff as well as the residents. "
As for future visits Dani and her family recently moved nearby and are looking forward to being able to visit him regularly as soon as restrictions lift.
She said : "It was very emotional, for him as well. He's not really understanding why we've had to be so separated. His brain injury has affected the way he understands the world - to not be able to give him a hug, he doesn't understand why."
Dani, who is also a motivational speaker and wrote the bestselling I am the Queen Bee book, has another big event this week, when she hosts 22 speakers for a broadcast business and personal motivation event.
Danny stepped down from Preston Council ahead of the elections in 2012 to begin a new life in Cumbria, where he managed a holiday park on the edge of Coniston Water with his wife Karina. At the time of his accident Dani told the Post: "He was just doing some jobs in the morning and he slipped off a step on to some concrete and he has suffered a catastrophic brain injury. He had come out of one of the lodges and missed the step. He was airlifted to Royal Preston Hospital."
For our report on the Centre's birthday party see here .
For our report on the VIP guest at the birthday party see here .
* The Lancashire Post is more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription to support our journalism. For unlimited access to Lancashire news and information online, you can subscribe here.