Boro are backing a Teesside anthem that’s raising funds for the area’s most needy children.
Proceeds from CD sales of Infant Hercules by popular local band Cattle and Cane are boosting a fund that allows schools to buy bare essentials such as clothes and bedding for underprivileged Teesside kids.
Now a video to promote the CD is to be screened at the Riverside Stadium this Saturday (October 4), the night after its first official airing at a charity gala at Middlesbrough Town Hall.
Written by Cattle and Cane’s lead singer Joe Hammill, Infant Hercules tells the story of Teesside’s industrial rise and decline before finishing with a chorus of hope for the future.
All sales from an initial print run 1,000 CDs are being donated to Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation’s new Schools Hardship Fund.
The Schools Hardship Fund has been set up to provide local primary schools with small amounts of money to allow them to target discrete help for kids and families in most need.
Small donations have already been made to several Teesside schools to help out pupils who are living well below the poverty line.
Now it is hoped the fund will receive a further boost with the launch of a stirring video to promote Infant Hercules.
Created by Middlesbrough-based video company Erimus Productions, the video features many local landmarks including Eston Hills, Roseberry Topping, the Riverside Stadium, Saltburn, the Transporter Bridge, Newport Bridge, Stockton’s Victoria Bridge, the steelworks at Redcar and Wilton chemical complex.
It will be shown on the Riverside Stadium’s big screen shortly before kick-off of Saturday’s match with Fulham, with organisers hoping it will encourage fans to buy the £5 CD from the club’s retail store.
The video will also be screened at the Philanthropic Foundation’s sell-out annual ball at Middlesbrough Town Hall this Friday.
Video director Daniel Michael Smith, owner of Erimus Productions, said: “The video represents the journey of early workers who moved to the region in search of work and prosperity. They contributed to the exponential growth of Infant Hercules and the imprint which the engineering excellence and exported skills of our town has left on the world.
“I’m so proud to have had the opportunity to create a video for such a great song as Infant Hercules and really hope it will boost sales of the CD for a very special cause.”
Joe Hammill, Cattle and Cane’s lead singer, says the Thornaby band are “as proud as punch” that their song and accompanying video will be played at the Riverside.
“As a proud Boro fan, it will be a dream come true to hear our song and see this brilliant video at the Riverside Stadium,” he said. “It will be absolutely incredible.
“The video, which was Daniel’s brainchild, shows all the landmarks that are name-checked in the song’s lyrics and few more we don’t. It ends fittingly with Cattle and Cane performing in the Sammy’s club in Middlesbrough. I haven’t seen a more Teesside-themed music video in my life.”
The song’s title comes from William Gladstone’s 19th Century declaration that Middlesbrough was an “infant Hercules” at a time when the Tees was home to some of the world’s leading shipbuilding and iron-producing companies.
Joe offered to turn the single into a Teesside fundraiser after hearing about the plans for the Schools Hardship Fund from Andy Preston, chairman of the Philanthropic Foundation, a charitable movement that has raised more than £750,000 for Teesside causes in just three years.
“It seems so appropriate for proceeds of this song to go to Teesside,” added Joe. “When Andy told us about the Hardship Fund, I just knew it was for us.
“I’ve heard about local kids who don’t have things like bedding and clothes that most of us take for granted, so it really struck a chord with us.
“It shocks us that it happens and that there’s been no fund for it but hopefully sales of the CD will help to change that.”
Andy Preston added: “Having spoken to a number of Teesside teachers, we believe the Hardship Fund is an absolute must, so we’re working with schools to give help when and where it’s needed.
“Donating the CD sales is fantastic gesture by Cattle and Cane – and Erimus Productions have created a wonderful video that we hope will encourage Teessiders to snap up every copy.”
Lyrics to Infant Hercules
Built on the banks of the Tees,
this Infant Hercules,
born from grime, born from graft,
the world won’t forget Infant Hercules
Men built from steel, women just as strong
ICI at Wilton, Headwrightson, and Dorman Long
the legacy that we have left, is there to see from east to west
Built on the banks of the tees
Infant Hercules, he made the town we know today
smoke and fire, and shipyards and the steelworks paved the way
The Sky was grey, the air was thick, with chemicals that stick,
in the throat and the lungs.
The warm orange glow from our industry at night
is home to me, the most comforting of sights
from Eston hills i’m looking down, I look with fondness on my town
where I was born, I was raised
A small town with bigger hearts and voices to be heard.
Betrayed by the powers who swore to protect and serve.
We were made from industry, they’ll not forget our history
where I was born, I was raised
We can meet the future, we can write a new page
Leave us our identity, stop changing our name
Smoggie til the day I die, I love that haze across the sky
Where I was born, I was raised
Infant Hercules he must go marching once again
Infant Hercules he must go marching once again,
in a different way than was before, let’s pick this town from off the floor,
Where I was born, I was raised.