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Military Wives Choir odds on for Christmas No 1

Following the success of the BBC2 TV series ‘The Choir: Military Wives’, which saw musical maestro Gareth Malone teaching wives and girlfriends…

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Following the success of the BBC2 TV series ‘The Choir: Military Wives’, which saw musical maestro Gareth Malone teaching wives and girlfriends of Armed Forces personnel serving in Afghanistan to sing, the women are releasing a single of the song ‘Wherever You Are’.

Proceeds from the single will be donated to Armed Forces charities the Royal British Legion and SSAFA Forces Help.

And a flurry of bets has, this week, pushed the single into pole position for the Christmas Number One slot, according to bookmaker William Hill, edging ahead of the perennial favourite, the X Factor winner’s single.

The BBC2 series, which culminated with the Military Wives Choir performing at last month’s Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall before Her Majesty The Queen and Prime Minister David Cameron, was a huge hit with TV viewers.

The show saw the women, whose partners, from all three Services, are based at Royal Marines Base Chivenor and in Plymouth, learn to sing over eight months in front of TV cameras.

One of the wives, Jane Batchelor, whose husband is RAF Warrant Officer Andy Batchelor, says that since the series aired life has become ‘very hectic’, with numerous TV and radio appearances.

On Tuesday this week the Military Wives performed at a reception in Downing Street for British troops involved in the Libya operations, in front of the Prime Minister, David Cameron. While this weekend, the ‘Milly Wives’ (as they’ve been dubbed on Twitter) will be appearing on the Sunday results show for the Strictly Come Dancing semi-final.

**See Related News to read more on the Downing Street reception for the Armed Forces this week.

**Jane, a former RAF servicewoman herself, joined the choir after hearing about it through friends and she believes that her involvement has changed her for the better:

It has given me a bit more confidence,” she said. “I hadn’t sung in a choir since school and it definitely made me believe I could sing.

She described her personal highlight as performing at the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall:

Coming from a military background and serving in the RAF, I always watch it on television, so to be a part of it was amazing,” she said.

My sons Josh and Thomas came with my husband to watch and it was obviously a brilliant experience for them.

It’s the first time in many years that I’ve ever had something for myself,” Jane added.

The choir is definitely that and Andy has been behind me all the way but I guess it’s payback for everything that we do for them over the years.

The Military Wives Choir’s single has been backed by Radio 2 presenter Chris Evans who is urging his millions of listeners to buy the single and plays it on his daily breakfast show.

Jane is quietly confident that the single will clinch the top spot in the festive chart:

Getting the Christmas Number One would be a fantastic coup for the choir. However, it really isn’t about that,” she stressed. “It’s about raising lots of money for the Royal British Legion and SSAFA [Forces] Help, and as long as we do that we’ve achieved our goal.

And is she quietly confident?

Yes, I’d like to say so!

‘Wherever You Are’ by the Military Wives with Gareth Malone (Decca Records) is available to pre-order now and is released on 19 December. The official video is already available to watch on YouTube - see Related Links.

Published 9 December 2011