A SINGER-songwriter has won the inaugural International Song for Kindness Contest - inspired by John Lennon - at the Cavern Club in Liverpool.

James Holt’s song, Make My Day, was judged as the world’s best new song of hope and optimism, beating 1,562 entries from 18 countries and nine other finalists.

James, 28, from Smithills, who studied at Salford University, developed his passion for music when he began playing the piano at the tender age of five, moving on to the guitar at nine, and cello at 11.

The Beatles inspired him to write and start singing when he was 16/17, describing his admiration as “almost obsessive”.

Speaking about his achievement, James said: “This competition was about songwriting, and to receive this accolade from a such a panel of judges is fantastic.

“When I was given the award, I was speechless. The other acts were so good, so I had it in my mind that I wasn’t going to win.

“I hadn’t even thought of what I needed to say. It is nice to be recognised because there aren’t many song writing contests.”

James’s song was about what the NHS did for those unable to see their relatives during lockdown last year.

He added: “It must have been horrible not to be able to give comfort to their loved ones. My song was really an ode to the NHS.

“They still had to physically be there in some people’s last moments of solace.

“Kindness is actually a difficult subject to get across and what it means to people.

“I wanted to draw on that experience that almost everyone has, and which has been sadly absent for so many during the pandemic.”

James will now have his song professionally produced, mixed and mastered by record producer and head of TUFF Music, Daniel Xander.

It will be recorded at Liverpool’s Motor Museum studio, known for Oasis and The Arctic Monkeys. James will also stage a concert at Manchester Academy on December 17, and a fundraiser for the Alice Charity at the end of October.