Military Wives choir hand 500,000 to charity after their single becomes the Christmas number one
Wherever You Are by the Military Wives was the fastest-selling charity single since Elton John's 1997 track Candle In The Wind.
And thanks to the group's musical endeavours more than half a million pounds has been raised for forces' charities.
Members of the 100-piece group, which formed during BBC2 programme The Choir, joined with choirmaster Gareth Malone today as they handed over a cheque for 503,985 to nominated good causes.
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Gareth Malone and the Military Wives give a cheque for 503,985 to good causes with the money raised from their Christmas number one single Wherever You Are
They described that they were still 'pinching themselves' after beating X Factor winners Little Mix with their cover of Damien Rice's Cannonball to the Christmas number one single spot.
They were presented with the Number 1 Award by Reggie Yates on Christmas Day, during the festive edition of BBC1's Top Of The Pops and they are now set to release an album in time for Mother's Day this spring.
Described the turn of events,Malone said: 'It's astonishing that something we recorded in a few hours has taken off like this.
'When I first heard the song I thought
there is something here that will appeal to lots of people but I had no
idea it would take off like this.
The Military Wives described that they were still 'pinching themselves' after beating X Factor winners Little Mix
Members of the Military Wives choir (left to right) Suzy Brady, Emma Williams, Laura Thomson, Gareth Malone, Michelle Van Crugton, Nicky Kenyon and Laura Baldwin
'Nothing I have ever done comes close to this. It's all a bit of a dream. I'm pinching myself.'
The BBC2 series tracked Malone as he managed to convince over
100 women to join a choir after visiting military bases in Chivenor and
The all-female group were coached through public performances across the country, before the singing to the Queen and other members of the royal family during a Remembrance Day concert at the Royal Albert Hall.
Paul Mealor, a royal composer, was drafted in to compose the single which
is a heart-felt tribute from the wives and girlfriends whose partners were on a six-month
tour of duty in Afghanistan.
Nothing I have ever done comes close to this. It's all a bit of a dream. I'm pinching myself.
Malone said that the song, which is set to a poem compiled from
letters to and from the servicemen, gives the British public a chance to 'let it all out' and have 'a good cry'.
Member Laura Baldwin, 26, from Plymouth, said her husband Sergeant Jamie Baldwin was also delighted by their triumph.
husband has been absolute fantastic, really supportive. I think it has
given the husbands peace of mind while they have been out serving that
we have had something to focus on back home.
'Now I sing all the time at home, in the shower, with the radio in the car. I have a new baby and I sing to him all the time.'
from the single have been donated to the Royal British Legion and the
Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAF).
Composer Paul Mealor, choirmaster Gareth Malone and Chris Evans pose with the Military Wives choir
Russell Thompson, of the Royal British
Legion which spends 1.4 million every week helping service people and their families, said: 'We are thrilled to be receiving such a generous donation
from the inspiring Military Wives Choir single, which captures the
strength and resilience of our brave Armed Forces families.'
While Major General Andrew Cumming, chief
executive of SSAFA Forces Help, said: 'The money raised will make a very
real difference, enabling us to provide even more help and assistance
to military families, young and old alike.
'The Military Wives Choir typifies all that is good about our forces community. The bravery, dedication and
resilience that they have displayed when their loved ones were serving
overseas has been a shining example to us all.'
Malone described that the group's fundraising efforts have given the greatest joy.
'The money is better than the victory. It was lovely to be involved in this phoney war but what really counts is this will directly affect the families of servicemen.'
The Military Wives forthcoming album will feature the chart-topping single, as well as covers such as Adele's Make You Feel My Love.
Proceeds will go to the Military Wives Choir Foundation to help set up other choirs on military bases.