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A Welshpool bid for Xmas No. 1

Created on 01/11/2018 @ 21:24
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The bookies are telling us that Ed Sheeran, Queen or Abba are likely to be No 1 at Christmas this year, but we can reveal that a project that started over a few beers in Welshpool could well be the rank outsider.

Chris Birdsell-Jones is a fire fighter at Welshpool station and, last weekend, he brought together the best voices associated with the fire service to record a new version of Band Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas, and it is set to take the charts by storm!

The collective is known as The Fire Tones and among their ranks are fire fighters who have appeared on programmes such as The Voice and The X-Factor, so don’t be surprised if it extinguishes the Christmas opposition.

“This project has turned into something huge,” said Chris, who has served in Welshpool for three years. “It all started on our Christmas night out last year. We put a load of money in the juke box and every song that came on, someone criticised it. But when Band Aid came on, it was the only song that we all sang along to!

“I said to a couple of colleagues then that we should release it as a single for charity.

“The next day it came on the radio and my kids were singing along. It is one of the few songs that everyone loves so I decided to take it further.”

Almost 12 months later and Chris’s hard work is coming to fruition with the song recorded and video shot in Birmingham last weekend. It’s all now on the mixing desk and being prepared for a December 1 launch.

It’s been quite a journey which involved Chris searching Google to see how he could get permission to record the song. Eventually, he was given the green light from the Band Aid Trust, which includes Midge Ure and Bob Geldof as Directors, who will share proceeds from the single’s sales with the Fire Fighters Charity.

With the permission in place, his next task was to assemble a band that could do Bono, George Michael and Co.’s version justice.

“I contacted every fire service in the UK to explain what I was looking for and the response was amazing,” he said. “I asked those wanting to take part to send me recordings of them singing and received an incredible level of quality. Better than I could have ever imagined.”

Many of those who stepped forward from across the UK have performed at the very highest level, including the aforementioned mass audience reality shows.

“The end product is something special,” said Chris, who said that they also recorded their own backing track to give the classic a new twist. “It is up there with the original and I know people will be impressed. It has already received a massive level of support. The whole fire service is behind this and I hope it goes all the way to Christmas No 1 so that it raises plenty of money for these very worthy causes.”

Fire fighters from Welshpool and Newtown also took part in Sunday's recording, and for more information or to follow its progress, follow The Fire Tones on Facebook and Twitter.

PICTURE TOP: In full voice... The Fire Tones.

PUCTURE TWO: The local members of the band, including Chris, second from left.

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