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Last Updated: Monday, 20 December, 2004, 13:27 GMT
Travis star's life-changing trip
By Michael Osborn
BBC News entertainment reporter

Fran Healy in Sudan
Singer Fran Healy praised the strength of the Sudanese

Travis frontman Fran Healy has visited strife-torn Sudan after helping to make the Band Aid 20 single, and spoke to BBC News about his trip in the week the single became Christmas No1.

The Scottish musician, 31, travelled to Africa to see the situation for himself on behalf of Band Aid - and has come back home with an enduring change of perspective.

"I'm gobsmacked at what I saw in Sudan. I was running around thinking 'what can I do?'

"You see it so much as a flat thing on the TV, but when you see it for real it's so much more impressive," said Healy of his first trip to the region.

"I was naive before I went - thought Africans were needy and desperate.

"But they're the strongest people I've ever met who are surviving against all the odds - I don't know how they do it," said Healy, who travelled to southern Sudan with charity Save The Children.

Fran Healy in Sudan
Making a Band Aid record and going to Africa isn't enough for me - I'm going to get more involved
Musician Fran Healy

"I think we've spiritually lost touch with something they've got bags and bags of," he added.

The singer's trip to Sudan - which he says he is still "digesting" - has left him determined to help the people there as much as he can, using his fame to good effect.

"I'm going to get inolved and will go back to see more," he said. He was struck by the lack of clean water in the region.

'A little bit more'

"As a famous person the thing you can do is go to a place and report on it. A singer like myself is able to talk freely and express an opinion," he added.

"There is so much more that can be done. Making a Band Aid record and going to Africa isn't enough for me - I'm going to get more involved."

He added that the public could keep buying the Band Aid track - but his wish was that they could do "a little bit more".

Fran Healey
Travis recently released a greatest hits collection

But the musician is "positive" that even in the midst of Christmas celebrations, people take the time to remember the less fortunate and overcome any cynicism about charity.

Healy, who with band Travis has scored 16 Top 40 hits and two chart-topping albums, spoke out against critics of the latest Band Aid record.

"When the record came out I was amazed at how much effort was poured into slagging it off," he said.

"If as much vim and verve was put into something positive and the messages the Band Aid record raises, it would have been so much more productive."

Healy has come home for Christmas feeling "awe-struck" by his experience, but thinks the situation in Africa is "solveable".


SEE ALSO:
Travis singer flies out to Sudan
11 Dec 04 |  Entertainment
Travis star defends Band Aid song
26 Nov 04 |  Entertainment


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