David Attenborough inspires Belsize Park songwriter to pen eco-friendly Christmas story

Singer-songwriter Caroline Chan on a log

Caroline Chan has written A Most Important Letter. - Credit: Colleen McSherry

A documentary by David Attenborough inspired a Belsize Park singer-songwriter to pen an eco-friendly Christmas story.

In a normal year, Caroline Chan, who creates children’s music, does “drop-in groups in the library and various other community centres, creating more music, writing more music, and doing one-to-one sessions with children with special needs”.

She has maintained these sessions over Zoom, but after watching Attenborough’s A Life on Our Planet and another Netflix nature film, Kiss the Ground, she was motivated to create a new eco-friendly festive story entitled A Most Important Letter.

Caroline Chan busking

Caroline Chan creates children’s music. - Credit: Sophie Cooke

READ MORE: London Zoo “faces extinction” warns David Attenborough

“[The documentaries] really just made us feel like we wanted to do something ourselves, instead of just watching and saying: ‘Oh my God, this is just so terrible, what's happening?’

"We thought, what can we as liberal people do?,” Caroline told Ham&High.

“My strengths are in writing and creating music, and I felt: 'Can I write something that could be spread, that could just change people's way of thinking for a little while and maybe make a difference?’”

Caroline said: “I’ve been increasingly writing environmental songs for children, which I've been developing and singing in schools and workshops. And then last year, I wrote a Christmas song, Millions of Trees. And I noticed that people were engaging with it and just liking the alternative message.”

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She continued: “I started off trying to write a song.

“Then I had so much to put into it that it would have been far too long! So, I made it into a story.”

She showed it to family friend and actor Megan Williams, who was “very enthusiastic about it and I suggested she narrate it for us.”

Caroline Chan with a guitar

Caroline Chan is a singer-songwriter. - Credit: Sophie Cooke

Throughout lockdown, Caroline has collaborated with her lodger, cellist William Jack, who stepped forward to provide musical accompaniment.

Caroline said: “I think it must be so hard for children to hear all the time that the planet’s in danger, and I really wanted to give a positive message after a year that has been so difficult for so many, including my grandchildren.”

Caroline said she partly created A Most Important Letter because she “wanted to give something that could make my grandchildren feel that there was hope and that they could be part of a change that’s necessary for a better world.”

Watch A Most Important Letter at tinyurl.com/y8e2cpxr