07 Aug 2022

Sisters pen loving lockdown tribute to Derry granny

Money raised by the girls will be donated to Foyle Hospice

Sisters pen loving lockdown tribute to Derry granny

Sadie, Penny and Darcy made a special music video for their granny Sadie Harkin

Three young sisters from Stockport have written a song in ‘loving tribute’ to their Derry granny who was a proud shirt factory worker in the city.

A song and video was created by sisters Sadie (10), Penny (7) and Darcy (4) during the Covid-19 lockdown with the help of local musician Roy Arbuckle.

Like many grandchildren, they have been unable to visit their grandparents since the start of the pandemic and have missed them dearly. 

The girls normally travel to Derry every month to visit their grandparents but sadly despite the easing of restrictions they’ve been unable to make the trip across the Irish Sea.

However, working on the song ‘My Granny was a Factory Girl’ brought them closer together while they’ve had to be apart.

Their song, was written in honour of 'The Factory Girls' from the famous shirt factory era, of which their granny Sadie Harkin was one. 

Along with their granny, the girls have been supporting the ongoing campaign to install a permanent tribute which celebrates the contribution factory girls made to local life.

In ode to those workers the song was created and acts as a poignant tribute at this time.

The project was developed and produced virtually, using only iPhone recordings, Zoom sessions and FaceTime.

A red brick wall provided the ideal backdrop for the video.

Speaking to the Derry News about the making of the video, Sadie said: “It was quite fun because originally it was out the back of the house but then we moved to a bigger brick wall outside a pub.

“The first time I had my hair down and the wind was blowing my hair about my face.  But over the next few days it was raining and raining and we had to time it right.

“Then we got a good day and it was perfect.”

A target of £250 had been set but the girls have now far exceeded that total with over £700 raised as of Friday.

It’s ‘amazing’, Sadie said excitedly: “I thought we’d be lucky if we got £250, then the next day I logged on it was £300 and I thought, ‘oh my gosh’, and today it was £700, I couldn’t believe it.”

She said that her granny is ‘very proud’ and cried when she first saw the music video.

Singing is Sadie’s ‘passion’ and she has ambitions to write more songs.


When making the song the sisters sent recordings and videos from Stockport, to Derry, to Rochdale to Casablanca and back again, many times over for tweaking and finalising.

The collaboration would not have been possible without the involvement and encouragement of local legend, Roy Arbuckle.

Roy believed in the song's message and the little singers performing it from the beginning, inspiring the girls and sharing his time and knowledge generously.

After becoming aware of the Foyle Hospice’s Emergency Appeal the sisters and their granny wanted to use the song to fundraise for the ‘wonderful charity’.

The song was further developed during Sadie’s music lessons, which managed to continue remotely, with her music amazing tutor, Phil Reynolds. 

Phil helped immensely by coaching and bringing all the layers together, even working with Sadie to develop harmonies and write the piano music to accompany it.

The final push and motivation came from the creative genius that is Darren Norris, who whilst on lockdown in Casablanca supported the project by offering assistance with the video.

Bernadette Walsh at The Tower Museum, and some of the Factory Girls, supported a request for photos to use in the video.

Sadie said: “The response was fantastic with the bonus of them sharing their own memories of stories from the factory floor.

“We couldn’t be happier with the response it’s had.”

Coincidentally, the girls all attend the same Stockport school that released the hit song, ‘There’s no one quite like Grandma’ in 1980, also about a granny, by St. Winifred’s School Choir.

To donate you can visit and search: Sadie & Sisters - Fundraising for The Foyle Hospice 2020.

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