A West Lothian children’s doctor is proving he’s a man of many talents.
When he’s not caring for kids at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow, paediatrician Zander Simpson is streaming live gigs from his home studio.
And the doctor has now just released his first children’s novel, which has already won some rave reviews on Amazon.
While many of us were bingeing on boxsets at the height of lockdown Zander, who also has a two-year-old daughter called Robyn, said the extra time gave him impetus to finish his book – fantasy novel Indigo Swift – Welcome to the Cerebriverse.
During that time he also helped to organise a live stream charity concert in aid of Ronald McDonald House Glasgow, raising over £17,000.
And his Jammin’ Doctor weekly live streams, which saw him singing, playing piano and taking requests from the audience proved such a hit he’s now performing at the Regal Theatre in Bathgate in November.
The busy dad, who stays with Robyn and wife Michelle just outside Torphichen, said he’s wanted to write a children’s book for some time and says he hopes it will give a welcome distraction to the many children he sees on his ward who have to spend weeks or even months in hospital.
His own daughter was in intensive care for three months after being born with a rare condition which meant her nose had not formed properly, which prompted him to raise money for Ronald McDonald House, where parents can stay while their children are in hospital.
Zander said after a tough couple of years after being diagnosed with choanal atresia and later severe chest infections which lead to a three-month stay in intensive care, little Robyn is doing much better and is a “happy girl” who smiles through everything.
Zander (38) told the Courier he had always been inspired by JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books and a conversation with a young relative gave him the idea to base his own book around where our imaginary friends go when we grow up and don’t need them anymore.
He said: “In my job you unfortunately see kids who are in hospital for weeks and sadly months on end and are bedbound, as some of them are, a book can be such an escape, especially as it was what I was trying to achieve, which was to stimulate their imagination and take them to another place. Kids in hospital need that, more than anybody.
“The book is aimed at kids about 10 to 12 years old, but I think there will be something in it for a lot of different ages.
“Everybody’s been really positive and said they’ve enjoyed it and it’s had some four and five star reviews on Amazon.”
Zander told the Courier that his background was “slightly unusual” for a doctor as he had originally done a degree in music because he “wanted to be a rock star” but when that didn’t work out he thought it was “time to get a real job”.
But Zander never lost his passion for music and said his experience of staying at Ronald McDonald House made him want to raise money for the charity.
He continued: “Because I’d always played music and had been in bands I thought we could do a fundraising concert, but then lockdown hit so we realise we couldn’t do it and instead decided to do an online concert.
“It was myself and lots of other friends and we did a live concert on Facebook and Youtube and we raised £17,000. It was a really successful show and everyone seemed to enjoy it.”
Zander said after the show many people told him he should keep it going and so his Jammin’ Doctor weekly live stream was born.
He continued: “I initially started doing the shows from my bedroom, although I’ve not been relegated to the garage, and I started doing a live stream with me singing songs, playing guitar and taking requests and holding quizes in the comments section.”
The Jammin’Doctor live show at the Regal Theatre in Bathgate takes place on Saturday, November 13 and tickets are now available.
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