ED Sheeran has revealed he visited his dying grandmother nearly every day in the months leading up to her death.
The popstar, 29, opened up about his grandmother’s death as he penned a tribute to the “unique” NHS.
His beloved Granny Anne died in 2016 when he was on a hiatus from music.
And Ed says he visited her so often in her final months that he’s still friends with the staff at Aldeburgh Hospital in Suffolk who cared for her.
“I was lucky enough not to be on tour during my grandmother’s final months, and because I lived locally I was able to visit her every few days,” he writes in Adam Kay’s new book Dear NHS: 100 Stories to Say Thank You.
“The care she received was incredible; the people who worked there so lovely, compassionate, funny and caring.
“When she passed away I wrote a song called Supermarket Flowers about the situation. The verse lyrics are about packing up her room at that hospital.
“Me and my family became very close to the nurses who worked there and my mum is still in touch with them now. I see them from time to time when I’m in the area and it’s like meeting old friends.”
When he returned to work, Ed featured a tribute to her on his album Divide with the song Supermarket Flowers.
At the time, Ed told The Sun: “That was the day my gran passed away. I was at my home.
“It’s just a knee-jerk reaction. You can be really upset and dwell on something or you can put all the good memories in one song.”
Ed credits his grandmother with inspiring himself and his older brother Matthew, a classical composer, to pursue a career in music.
“I just wanted to make a tribute to my gran,” he said.
“She was the musical one in my family. Hopefully I will pass that on to my kids.”
Ed also reflected on his own experiences of care from the NHS.
He wrote: “I was born in Halifax in an NHS hospital, was in and out of the GP surgery every few weeks with ear infections from my first few months, had laser treatment for a port wine stain on my eye at Leeds General Infirmary over several years, had stitches on various parts of my body from always being a curious kid all throughout my childhood, had my eardrum replaced when I was 11 in Ipswich Hospital’s children’s ward and got both arms put in casts in Ipswich A&E when I fell off my bicycle mid-tour in 2017.
“And I haven’t even touched on dental and eye care!
“The NHS really has been there through every single up and down of my life so far, and every visit – even though I was either in pain or terrified – wasn’t ever as bad as I was thinking it was going to be, and that was down to how professional and lovely the doctors, nurses and support staff were.
“Places like Aldeburgh Hospital just don’t exist in large parts of the world and, in many, places like this are private and cost a lot of money, or you have to have health insurance to be able to access them.
“The NHS is unique. It can be taken for granted, or just accepted as the norm, but it’s not the norm.
“Without sounding cheesy, it’s the backbone of our country and idolised by me and millions more.
“This time of crisis has reminded so many how important it is to us, and to the country, and I hope, going forward, it will get the financial support and respect it deserves.
“It was created for a reason – to provide consistently excellent, reliable healthcare to all, regardless of background or means – and we mustn’t ever lose it.
“Thank you to everyone who works for the NHS. Thank you for putting other people’s pain and suffering above your own, and thanks for all you’ve done for me and my family.”