Coleg Llandrillo, Coleg Menai, Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor and Busnes@LlandrilloMenai logosColeg Llandrillo, Coleg Menai, Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor and Busnes@LlandrilloMenai logos

Hannah’s charity gig raising money for life-changing condition PoTS

The Coleg Llandrillo music student is performing along with local bands to raise awareness for PoTS UK

Music student Hannah Popey is holding a charity gig to raise awareness of PoTS, a little-known condition which dramatically changed her life.

Hannah, 18, was recently diagnosed with PoTS (Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) after six years blighted by illness.

The condition means her heart rate increases rapidly after getting up from sitting or lying down, and she is left exhausted by tasks and activities that many people take for granted.

Hannah had to give up her love of sport and was home-educated from Year 8 onwards as she couldn’t physically attend school.

Since then she has learned to play guitar, written, produced and performed her own music, and is studying Level 3 Music Technology at Coleg Llandrillo in Rhos-on-Sea.

Now, the singer-songwriter from Conwy is giving back to the charity which has helped her, by staging a night of music and entertainment in aid of PoTS UK.

‘A Night to Remember’ will take place at the Conwy Comrades Sports & Social Club on Friday, 26 April.

As well as Hannah, other performers include local bands Noisewave, G-String and Highway 88. The night will be hosted by drag performer Ivory Glam, and will also include a raffle. Tickets to the event cost £5, with all proceeds going to PoTS UK.

Hannah said: “I’ve decided to raise money for PoTS UK because obviously this is a charity close to my heart. They’re a small charity and I think this charity deserves awareness as not a lot of people know about PoTS.

“I’ve been ill for around six years now and have recently been diagnosed with PoTS in the last month or so.

“It affects my life massively. I get very low blood pressure, and I have to use mobility aids when I go out because I can’t walk far.”

Hannah discovered her talent for music after she had to give up her favourite sports as a youngster.

Six years later, she has written and produced her own songs and regularly performs them - including her latest track Dream to Forget, which charted on iTunes after she recorded it for the Coleg Llandrillo album High Society.

“Six years ago I didn’t have anything to do with music, funnily enough,” Hannah said. “I was a sports-loving teenager - I loved football, I loved going outdoors, I loved anything to do with that.

“Then I became ill and I thought ‘Oh my God, what am I going to do with my life?’. I don’t have my sport, I can’t do all these things that I was loving that were my hobbies.

“So then I asked my mum if she could buy me a guitar - it was like a £10 guitar, it was terrible - and I learned the guitar.

“I wrote my first song, called Stuck in My Mind, about me being stuck in my room not knowing what I was going to do, and then finding music, finding that music helps me get my emotions out.

“If it wasn’t for music I don’t know where I’d be. I don’t know what I’d do, really.”

Hannah is now in the second year of her course at Coleg Llandrillo, with her charity gig doubling up as her final major project. She has been able to develop her music at college, as well as benefiting socially after so long out of school.

“The support at college has been amazing, from the tutors and the students as well,” she said. “The tutors are really good at supporting and pushing you to where you want to be, and the students, obviously we all support each other because we all love music so we want to support each other in what we love.

“I’ve had physio and that’s helped me to come to college, but even now the tutors let me do work from home as well, because I just get so ill some days I can’t come in. They’re really supportive.

“College has helped me more with the social side as well, because obviously with me being at home I didn’t really know many other people that liked music. Coming to college I’m surrounded by other people that like music, as well as other creative people.

“Music Technology involves loads of different aspects of the music industry. We learn about live event management, we learn about production, we learn about composing - not just composing songs, but composing for TV and film as well. So it’s a very wide range of learning really.

“The highlight of this course is getting experience - we did a live-lounge performance and I really loved performing and organising that live event, and now getting the experience I need to organise my own event outside of college is just great.

“Also, the collaborative element - we did a college album and this had quite good success. My song on the album got to 21 on the iTunes pop charts so it’s really helped me push my music out there.

“The course has prepared me for a career in the industry. It’s given me the skills that I’ve needed and helped me boost my confidence really more than anything.”

Since receiving her diagnosis, Hannah has been prescribed beta blockers which help manage her symptoms. She is determined to pursue her dream career as a singer-songwriter, and also to help others who suffer from PoTS.

Hannah said: “This diagnosis has helped me a lot because now I know what I have and I’m starting medication now.

“Obviously I’m going to have this for the rest of my life and it’s not something that will just go away, but this will hopefully help manage my symptoms and will help me do day-to-day things that I want to do.

“My plan for the future is to hopefully become a successful singer-songwriter and producer. I maybe want to do some more campaigns on raising awareness for PoTS through live events. Not many people know about PoTS, so I want to raise awareness and help other people who have POTS or maybe who don’t know they have it.”

‘A Night to Remember’, presented by Hannah Popey, is at Conwy Comrades Sports & Social Club on Friday, 26 April (8pm-midnight). Tickets can be bought on the GoFundMe page for a suggested donation of £5, or pay at the door by cash or card. All proceeds go to PoTS UK.