Drifters star Ray Lewis surprises Sue Ryder nursing assistant with performance

Janet Hardaker, a nursing assistant at Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice in Leeds was surprised with a special performance from Ray Lewis of legendary soul group The Drifters on her last day before retirement, after sixteen years working at the hospice.

Janet Hardaker and Ray Lewis standing together in the Wheatfields garden
Sue Ryder nursing assistant Janet with Ray Lewis, former lead singer of The Drifters.

A surprise performance

Janet was enjoying a socially distanced leaving party with her colleagues in the hospice garden when the singer dropped by to surprise her with her very own private gig.

American-born Ray was the lead singer of The Drifters between 1978 and 1988 and serenaded Janet with a medley of the group’s best-known hits, including ‘Save the Last Dance for Me’ and ‘Treat Her Like a Lady’.

“It left me speechless”

Janet said: “I still can’t believe that Ray came to sing just for me on my last day, it left me speechless. My mum, who I sadly lost last year, also liked The Drifters a lot so I felt that she was there with me sharing my special day.”

“I am sad to be leaving, but I am taking some wonderful memories with me”

“I am sad to be leaving Wheatfields, as it has been an important part of my life, but I am taking some wonderful memories with me. I have made some lifelong friends and looking after patients and their family at a very vulnerable time in their lives, sometimes sharing last moments, has been a privilege.”

“It was an absolute pleasure to see the smiles on their faces”

After his amazing performance, Ray said: “It was an absolute pleasure to see the smiles on their faces in these momentous times. Thank you to all the staff and management for allowing me the opportunity.”

Find out more information on Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice, the expert palliative care and support they provide for people living with a life-limiting condition and their families, as well ways you can help support them to continue to be there when it matters.