Sweet Staffie features in charity Christmas video tackling elderly loneliness

This emotional alternative Christmas advert has gone viral online with hundreds of thousands of views – and it has the sweetest Staffie companion.

Yorkshire singer songwriter Sam Clegg has produced a homemade Christmas short film with a charity single, inspired by Sir Captain Tom Moore’s fundraising efforts for the NHS.

Sam has been producing YouTube videos for nine years, and last year released ‘Christmas Has Changed’ with his sister Roseanne. The track racked up 304K views, but has been blown out of the water by his 2020 mini movie.

This viral original song ‘Don’t Let Me Go’ was released on November 1, and received over 500K views and hundreds of comments on YouTube within a week. Sam is urging viewers to purchase the 79p track on Amazon or iTunes, with 100% of the money being donated to charities who are helping tackle elderly loneliness.

The video comes with the following warning: you will cry.

Sam said: “This song and advert is dedicated to everyone who has faced hardships in 2020. With this song, we hope to raise money for multiple charities that support the elderly.

“We were inspired by our own hometown Sir Captain Tom Moore’s charitable efforts to raise money for a brilliant cause.

“With each 79p purchase it will help give support and companionship to the elderly who need it most in 2020. This Christmas Advert Concept for John Lewis was filmed to show the bond between humans and dogs.

“Many elderly people rely on their animal family for their wellbeing. This is why with every 79p purchase of our song “Don’t Let Me Go”, 100% of the money will be donated to charity.”

Sam’s Staffordshire Bull Terrier features in the poignant story which sees his elderly owner share his life with him. In the run up to Christmas, they open advent calendars together, share festive feasts, and enjoy winter walks.

Set on the Yorkshire Moors, the five minute video delves into the issue of elderly loneliness after ‘Bruno’ goes missing on a walk, and his lonely owner is left devastated, unable to enjoy the run up to Christmas without his best friend.

The video has been released at an incredibly isolating time for many, as lockdown looms over the festive period with many wondering if they will see their family this winter.

*Spoilers ahead* 

As the story progresses, the owner discovers his pet’s Santa bandanna in the snow before suffering a cardiac arrest. As he fades away, he is reunited with Bruno just in time for Christmas and they continue their Christmas Eve walk.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t cry – this advert will crumble the stoniest of hearts. And for any dog owners that have lost a pet will relate to the pain it brings, particularly when they’re the only thing you’ve got.

The black and white Staffie – who’s real name is Charlie – has a second video on Sam’s channel, howling along to the single! It’s a much more lighthearted watch after the emotional advert, so I recommend watching it straight after whilst you hug your pet a bit tighter.

Some viewers were slightly confused by the video, believing it really was the John Lewis advert for 2020. Either way, it’s certainly got people talking!

Sam decided to clear things up on Facebook, writing: “I recently made an Alternative John Lewis style advert. The message has definitely been misconstrued by several people. My story was portraying a bond between a vulnerable old man and his staffy. Death and loss are a tragic fact of life, and I tried to explore this theme while trying to give hope to people that we may be reunited again.

“I tried to give staffies the best representation in the advert as loving loyal pets (something I believe the mainstream media often fail to do), while trying to show the loneliness many older people suffer through. The video has provoked many emotional reactions which are all valid. Some people laughed, some have cried and some have been inspired to help out this year themselves.

“Many people don’t know this but the ending of my video was inspired by the film Wuthering Height which I think is a fantastic piece of cinema: I even filmed the ending on the moors Emily Brontë wrote about in her book as a tribute.”

But one member of the public was so offended by the video, they made a complaint to one of the charities the video was supporting.

Sam said: “The video and song was made on a budget of £0, yet in return it has generated hundreds of pounds in the sales of my charity single. When I first released the song all of the proceeds were going to one charity, but then one person complained to the said charity. When I was told they can’t accept the donations due to due diligence issues I was distraught. I now will donate the proceeds to several charities that will support the elderly and if they can’t accept it due to [name redacted] complaining to charities (in the middle of a pandemic when they need it the most) I will have to go to care homes myself and post cheques through the door.

“I will do ANYTHING to get the money to the people that need it right now! I also want to personally apologise to anyone I may have upset, and I will personally reply to anyone who has been affected by it. Thank you to everyone who has taken time out of their day to support the cause and read this message. I want to reiterate that Charlie and my dad are perfectly fine in real life, but that can’t be said about other people and that was my whole reasoning for making the video.”