Mark wows TV judges with tribute song

Mark wows TV judges with tribute song

8 May 2019

A SAINTFIELD singer showed his love for his brother who lives with locked-in syndrome and wowed Simon Cowell and the judges of Britain’s Got Talent television show.

Mark McMullan received a standing ovation when he sang the Les Miserables hit Bring Him Home on Saturday’s programme, watched on by his brother Declan, mother Brenda and father John in the audience.

Declan (26) was left paralysed, blind, without speech and only able to communicate by blinking following being resuscitated after he almost died from a cardiac arrest six years ago. 

The eldest of three sons, Declan was about to start university to study Film and Media when he became ill.

His mother found him in his bed at home and his father performed CPR until the paramedics arrived to take over.

Mark (23), a practising architect in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, does not yet know if he has got through the deliberations stage of the competition to reach the semi-finals.

However, his proud family at home has promised to support him every step of the way.

Mark’s rendition of Bring Me Home has been highlighted on RTE and BBC Northern Ireland’s Nolan show over the last few years but this is the first time that Declan’s story has received UK-wide coverage.

While he received praise from judges Amanda Holden, David Walliams, Alesha Dixon and Simon Cowell, who predicted demand for him from West End musicals, Mark said that his audition performance was the most poignant for him.

“It was quite strange. Declan’s story is one that I’ve told a few times,” said Mark. “Most of the times I can deal with it but sitting in the house watching myself on TV telling the story was quite strange and emotional for me.”

He added that he sang the musical hit song many times before his brother took ill but that it took on a special significance for the whole family after that. 

“It’s a song that all of us as family connect with and it kind of helps us cope at the same time with what has happened,” he explained.“When Declan was in Musgrave Park Hospital in the brain injury unit we were told he was unresponsive and that any movement or anything he was doing was just a side-effect of what was going on in his brain. 

“My dad discovered that Declan could communicate with him through blinking. Once we realised that he could hear us and we could ask him a question and he could blink, music just became a big thing from then. 

“Obviously Declan couldn’t verbally communicate his emotion at that time. It was a way that he could just escape and listen to music, to just feel normal again.”

Mark, Declan and his mother all appeared on ITV’s This Morning programme on Monday where Mrs McMullan told Eamonn Holmes that Declan had a undiagnosed congenital heart condition known as Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome.

“I found him dead in his bed, he must have been dead about 20 minutes as I had heard him up at half six and I get up at 7am to go to work”, said Mrs McMullan of that fateful morning.

“I don’t know why but I just knew that something wasn’t right. He was lying on his bed and he wasn’t breathing.”

She described the brain damage that Declan suffered as a “tsunami of damage across his brain.”

Mrs McMullan added: “Declan can’t see, he’s fed through his stomach but his understanding, his personality, his memory hasn’t been affected. I’ve three boys and they all have a lovely bond.”

Mark will be supported by the whole Saintfield and wider community as he hopefully progresses further, particularly from members of St Patrick’s Choral Society in Downpatrick where he was a rising star a few years ago.