STAFF, volunteers and patients at a North-East hospice have serenaded pop superstar Gary Barlow with a special message: “We want you back for good.”

It’s 21 years since the Take That singer was guest of honour at the Butterwick Hospice in Stockton when he officially opened the children’s wing.

Now, the hospice has recorded its own version of one of Barlow’s biggest hits in a tuneful bid to persuade him to make a return visit when the band performs at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium on June 1.

The recording of Back For Good was made in the children’s unit, with the newly-formed Butterwick choir wearing Gary Barlow masks and performing in front of a cardboard cut-out of the star.

The lead role was played by Carl Booth, who doubles as the hospice’s estates manager and official busker. Backing singers included staff, volunteers and one of the young patients.

Carl was drafted in at the eleventh hour and had only hours to learn the song on the guitar and memorise the lyrics.

“It was a bit of a challenge but it’s a bit of fun and you never know – it might just strike a chord with Gary,” he said.

One of the backing singers, staff nurse Vicky Garritty, said: “We just thought it would be lovely for Gary to come back and see how many improvements have been made to the children’s hospice since he opened it. We just want him back.”

Jo Wallis, the Butterwick’s head of marketing and fundraising, said: “When it was announced that Take That would be in the area on June 1, we thought it was a really good opportunity to invite Gary back.

“We tried all the official channels, but we appreciate that he’s a busy man with lots of demands on his time, so someone came up with the idea of serenading him. So much has happened to develop the unit in the 21 years since he was here and we’d love to welcome him back.”