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Melissa Cecelia Ewen Bell (5 March 1964 – 28 August 2017) was an English soul singer. From 1993 to 1996, Bell was one of the lead singers of British R&B act Soul II Soul, with whom she released "Wish". In 1999 she created her own band; ‘Soul Explosion’. Bell’s soulful voice and talent lead her to work with the likes of Liza Minnelli, Whitney Houston, Queen, Sir Elton John, George Michael and Stevie Wonder to name a few.
Melissa’s music career started when she joined a band called ‘Retro’, and then went onto joining a local reggae band called ‘Impulse’. Whilst performing and showcasing her talent, Melissa was approached by music producers to record various singles such as her self-penned, breakthrough song ‘Reconsider’. This song went on to be an underground hit and led to her joining Grammy Award winning group ‘Soul II Soul’. Through hard work, determination, talent, family support and a little luck she carved out a successful career. This was something she was proud of & had always dreamt of from a very young age. Melissa’s dedication to her craft was translated through her soulful, vibrant, authentic and heartfelt performances, that moved and endeared her fans and fellow musical peers alike.
Her notable achievements included appearances on Top Of The Pops, performing on the prestigious ‘Live Aid’ charity concert at Wembley Stadium in 1985, backing singer for legendary artists such as Whitney Houston, Queen, George Michael, Stevie Wonder and Sir Elton John. Her talents also took her around the world, performing in various countries that not only expanded her horizons, but also her love for embracing new adventures, cultures and life long memories. Even in later life, she successfully continued her career through singing, recording, writing and performing on various projects. She also extended this to developing and supporting the talent of others to help them seize their dreams and aspirations.
Melissa suffered from Diabetes Mellitus, which subsequently caused her kidneys to fail. At this point, she was on a strict dialysis regime for many years, and though the disease was debilitating, she still continued to sing, perform and embrace life to its fullest with a positive and determined outlook to face the challenges that occurred with her condition.
Throughout this time, Melissa would embark on various activities that aimed to provide awareness and education to diabetes, kidney failure and organ donation through ambassador roles and media appearances. This would be with the hope that shared knowledge can positively impact and help others on their journey while also promoting preventative advice allowing future generations doing what they can to avoid getting diabetes or ways to test yourself for early symptoms and treatment.
Her appearances included Good Morning Britain, BBC News, London Tonight and LBC Radio. Other causes included awareness campaigns with the NHS on organ donation alongside The Royal Free Hospital and Diabetes UK.
In June 2016 she had a stroke which left her hospitalised. A few months later in December 2016, she endured a second stroke, this time being more severe than the previous one, and affected her ability to speak. Despite the initial grave prognosis, her enduring determination to fight on was a strong as ever, providing further inspiration to those that followed her journey with diabetes and kidney failure.
On 28 August 2017, Melissa passed away at the Royal Free Hospital, surrounded by her loved ones. She is survived by her sons David and Aaron and daughters Sheniece and Alexandra. Through their mother’s journey, they are inspired to keep her legacy and passion for life burning strong through the Melissa Bell Foundation, an upcoming charity that aims to provide the youth with opportunities to embrace/hone their talents in the arts via scholarships at the Sylvia Young Theatre School.
Other endeavours include the Annual Fall Ball which aim to raise funds that provide awareness and support to those who have suffered from strokes and it’s impacts on them and their loved ones.
The inspiration behind the Melissa Bell Foundation, was Melissa’s own love and passion for music, and her lifelong commitment to support others to embrace, enjoy and enhance their potential talent.
Melissa was an inspirational person not only to her family but to many others. Her determination, fighter mentality and caring personality never faded, even with her illness, or the effects of the strokes. Her family wanted to create a lasting legacy in her honour, and her love for music and joy of helping others.
The Melissa Bell Foundation is focused to make a difference to the lives of many young people. The foundation is committed to help and support young people develop their talent and achieve their dreams.
The Melissa Bell Foundation has formed a partnership with the Sylvia Young Theatre School, London’s renowned performing arts school in London offering a high level of academic & vocational studies. The foundation hopes to raise as much money as possible to support underprivileged young people each year, to be granted a scholarship at Sylvia Young Theatre School.
Melissa’s daughter Alexandra has joined forces with her dear friend Nick Ede. Nick created The Style For Stroke Foundation to help promote awareness to a younger demographic. Nick and Alexandra both lost their mother’s to Strokes, this common bond inspired them to work together channelling their passion to raise awareness.
The Fall Ball will be an annual event, and the money raised will help fund and support the work and development of ‘The Melissa Bell Foundation’ and ‘Style For Stroke’, as well as continuing to raise awareness about Stroke working closely with the Stroke Association.
The Melissa Bell Foundation is very proud to share that the first ever Fall Ball in 2018, raised enough money to support four amazing young people to attend the Sylvia Young Summer School. We are so pleased to announce, that one of these talented young people has been offered a full scholarship to attend Sylvia Young Theatre School.
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