Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 12 July 2014

Jenkins forced to call off show

Katherine Jenkins was due to perform for servicemen and women this week

Katherine Jenkins and James Blunt have again been forced to cancel morale-boosting concerts for British troops in Afghanistan because of problems flying them to the war zone.

The award-winning singers were due to perform for servicemen and women this week, but a malfunctioning RAF Tristar transport aircraft left them stranded in Cyprus.

Former Army officer James, 38, revealed on Twitter that the stars were just half an hour from the main British base in Helmand province when their flight had to turn back because of a technical fault.

He wrote: "We have an air leak. It's become very cold on the aircraft. Only 30 mins short of Camp Bastion, but we're heading back to Cyprus."

Katherine tweeted: "Sadly we tried again (to get to Afghanistan) but it's not going to happen. So sorry not to make it out to you but we really REALLY tried!"

A defence source said the military was "gutted" it could not get the entertainers to Helmand and confirmed that the aircraft fault also meant delays for some members of the armed forces returning home on leave.

This is not the first time the two singers have failed to get to Afghanistan because of transport problems. They also had to abandon a trip to entertain the troops at Christmas 2010.

Comedian Kev Orkian was due to perform alongside Blunt and Jenkins on this week's cancelled visit, which was organised by the British Forces Foundation.

Discussions are under way about rescheduling the stars' visit to Afghanistan.

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