Portsmouth acts sought for cervical cancer charity fundraising album in Porsche’s memory

Family and friends of a young woman who died of cervical cancer are putting together a fundraising tribute album in her name.

Thursday, 13th May 2021, 5:22 pm
The cover of Your Face Is An Album, a charity tribute album in memory of Porsche 'Pops' McGregor-Sims, who died at 27 two weeks after being diagnosed with cervical cancer. Artwork by Samo White

Porsche McGregor-Sims died last April aged 27, just two weeks after being diagnosed with the disease.

On May 8 – Porsche’s birthday – her mum Fiona Hawke and good friend Matthew Harrison announced they are putting together the album, named Your Face Is An Album.

They hope to release it on June 5, the anniversary of when she met her fiance, Mark Chapple.

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All money raised by the project will go to Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust.

The album will focus on female or female-featuring local acts, and Fiona and Matthew are currently seeking submissions. They can be contacted via the album’s Facebook page.

Matthew, who is frontman of country band Hometown Show recalls when Porsche broke the news of her illness: ‘It was a very quick – when Porsche told me and our group of friends, at first it seemed to be: “This will be ok, let's get through this, I've got many years left yet”, and then with that, two weeks later it was our world crumbling around us.’

Fiona says: ‘If you had to describe her as a colour she'd be yellow – bright, sunny, bouncy, vibrant, but don't wind her up too much because it will go red and flamey round the edges and burn you.

Portsmouth girl, Porsche 'Pops' Mcgregor-Sims.

‘When somebody dies and everybody jumps up and says: “Oh my god, they were this amazing person, they were loving and giving and sharing,” she actually was.

‘It's slightly difficult sometimes, because when we talk about her, it makes it sound like we're idealising her and putting her on a pedestal – but she really was like that.’

Matthew adds: ‘When she did pass, you only have to look at how many people were talking about her, how many musicians, friends, family, businesses, were putting messages out there about her.

‘As a friend she was always someone who had your back regardless, no matter what it was, she'd always be there for you, She's always be willing to listen, she'd always do whatever she could to support you.

‘She was an unwavering friend, no matter how much of an idiot you might have been.’

When she was buried at the South Downs Natural Burial Site, a fundraiser was set up with a modest £100 goal to help cover costs – it smashed £4,000.

Porsche had close ties to the local arts and entertainments world. Although she was working in admin at Sunsail in Port Solent she was hoping to get back into events management – which she’d studied at Plymouth University.

‘She was always such a big supporter of local music and putting on events,’ says Matthew. ‘That’s why we loved the idea of doing an album.

‘She loved local music, she loved Hometown Show from the start and was a massive fan. She always booked us to play.

‘She was such a big supporter of local music which is why I think this is a great way to honour and also help raise awareness around cervical cancer.

‘I'm ashamed to say, but as a man, I didn't really know much about cervical cancer when Porsche first started telling us about it after she was diagnosed. I started learning a lot about it and how perhaps women's pain isn't taken as seriously as perhaps it should be, so I think it's really important to raise awareness, not to just encourage young women to get these smear tests but for us men to understand it and help support too.’

Fiona explains more: ‘Smear tests need to be available to women earlier. At the moment if you're under 25, if you ask for a smear test, you will not be given one, unless you've got a huge amount of evidence behind you.

‘Porsche's sister, Tempest, was exhibiting similar symptoms to the ones Porsche had when she died and she went to her GP and told them: “My sister's died of cervical cancer, I want a smear test,” and they went: “No”. She ended up going private.

‘We've got to change this insane criteria.’

With regards to the album Matthew says: ‘We're asking for contributors with original music, it can be a bedroom recorded demo, an unreleased track, or anything. We want predominantly female artists, there's obviously me with a Somewhere in The Wildwood track that I had written and performed at Porsche's memorial service, and we're going to do an exclusive Hometown Show song for it as well, but otherwise we’re after predominantly female, or female-featuring bands.’

Anyone who buys the album will also be entered into a raffle, with tickets also available separately.

Prizes have so far been donated by Staggeringly Good Brewery, Hounds Barbers, Southsea Coffee Co, Hair by Bradley Craig, Mae Brogan Nails, Waterstones, Molly Caswell's Hairdressing, upcycler Charlotte O’Fraise, and Seeded with more to come.

Matthew says: ‘It's hard when someone who was that big of a character and big personality is gone – it leaves such a hole

‘For someone like that to suddenly not be there, it's been very hard.’

Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust is the UK’s leading cervical cancer charity. They say: ‘We are here to see cervical cancer prevented and reduce the impact for everyone affected by cervical cell changes and cervical cancer through providing the highest quality information and support.

‘We also campaign for excellence in cervical cancer treatment and prevention.

‘Our vision is to see a future where cervical cancer is a thing of the past.’

To pre-order the album go to yourfaceisanalbum.bandcamp.com.

To find out more about the album or get in touch, go to facebook.com/YourFaceIsAnAlbum.

For more information about the charity, go to jostrust.org.uk.