He had not sung in public since the death of his wife last year – but when Syd Pearce started singing to his baby granddaughter Lily at his home something inside him clicked.
While little Lily watched on intently, Syd realised he still wanted to sing.
And when Lily’s mum Andrea asked for a recording, it started a chain of events that has turned the 89-year-old into an internet star.
Syd, who for many years sang in village halls and care homes, contacted his friend Paul Snook who arranged for a recording to be made.
Mr Snook uploaded Syd’s versions of old wartime songs on to YouTube and it has since received hundreds of hits.
Tomorrow Syd, who lives in Brimfield on the south Shropshire border, will record a Christmas album to add to his latest release.
And he has credited his great grand daughter – who celebrated her first birthday on Saturday – with inspiring his musical comeback.
“Lily and her mum came to visit me about three weeks ago and Andrea said they had never actually heard me sing,” he said. “So I sat in a rocking chair and started singing.
“This little girl was sat there fascinated. She looked at me with her big blue eyes all the time I was singing.
“Her mum said she wished they had a recording and that’s when I got in touch with Paul who recorded a CD. As he was leaving he said he would put it on YouTube and in the first two weeks there were more than 200 hits.”
Syd, who has two sons, Norman and Kevin, eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, spent years singing and entertaining but had stopped after his wife of 67 years – also called Lily – died last year.
Mr Snook’s video and montage of Syd singing includes many pictures from Syd and Lily’s time together, including pictures on their wedding day and a card they received from the Queen.
Syd and Lily met in an aircraft parts factory in north London when they were 16 and the pair were married within four years.
Syd volunteered for the RAF at 17 and was given a job as an armourer after it was discovered during his medical that he was colour blind. He was stationed at Kirkham in Lancashire, Manston in Kent, Thorney Island near Portsmouth and in Cornwall.
Syd said: “When my wife Lily died I packed up all my equipment and I gave a lot of things like my tapes and song sheets away. I was broken hearted.
“So after I did the recording for my great grand daughter I had to go around the village to find the lady I had given them too. She was happy to give them back and I spent a whole weekend going through them.
“The recording for Lily had five or six wartime songs on it and tomorrow I am going to record a Christmas programme of songs.”
Norman Pearce, Syd’s son, said: “When he retired at 65 my dad started singing in clubs. He spent nearly 15 years just going around old people’s homes doing sing-songs.
“This latest recording on YouTube has attracted hundreds of hits, and it is great.”
Syd’s latest musical exploits are not the only exciting thing happening in his life. On Sunday he became a great grandfather again following the birth of Amber.
And it does not end there for Syd, he says another great grandchild is due to be born at the weekend.