An 85-year-old Grandfather of 14 from Watford has become an internet musical sensation, gaining nearly a million views on his online piano performances in memory of his late wife.
Alan Melinek, known as the Piano Grandad, has used his musical talent to fundraise for Cancer Research UK since his wife Patricia died of ovarian cancer at 66-years-old in 2006.
Alan first fell in love with the piano as a three-year-old evacuee from London during WW2 and always dreamed of being a concert pianist.
He met his wife in a jazz club and the couple went on to marry and have five children.
Before the pandemic, Alan held regular concerts to groups of 30 to raise money to help fight cancer, but this was brought to an abrupt end when the country went into lockdown.
His granddaughter Bella helped him set up a TikTok account to help his fundraising efforts and Alan’s performances honouring his wife soon went viral with over 800,000 views.
He told WatfordNews: “It’s amusing, the whole family were tickled by how I have gone viral. But it’s not really about me, it’s about raising money for charity, everyone has been affected by cancer somehow.
“Please donate what you can in memory of the millions of people lost to cancer every year. If we had received just £1 for every view, we would be heading towards a whopping million-pound donation by now.”
Alan’s story has been featured on national television including ITV’s Good Morning Britain and BBC Three and he has even been asked to appear on Britain’s Got Talent.
Daughter Liz Melinek said: “It’s really brought us all together during lockdown and it’s actually been quite an emotional experience. We have learnt so much about dad’s history, his evacuation and how he came to teach himself to become such an extraordinary talent. We have been blown away.”
Alan wants to continue to raise money for Cancer Research UK and spread joy through his music.
To find out more visit pianograndad.com or donate at fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/page/grandads-piano-fundraiser