Belfast Telegraph

Peace song targets Xmas top spot

A charity peace anthem commemorating the First World War centenary is to take on the X Factor winner for the Christmas number one.

The re-recording of All Together Now, originally a hit for Liverpool band The Farm, has been put together by many of the figures behind the 2012 Christmas chart-topper which also kept that year's victor of the ITV contest off the top.

It even features former X Factor winner Alexandra Burke, who triumphed in 2008 and is now lined up to compete with one of her successors.

The song has been recorded by the Peace Collective, which features The Farm's Peter Hooton, Mick Jones from The Clash, The Proclaimers, Gorgon City and a number of other guest acts.

The song - first a hit in 1990 - was inspired by the famous Christmas Day truce which saw British and German troops suspend hostilities, exchange food and play football in the "no man's land" mentioned in the lyric. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the truce.

The new track features a backing choir of schoolboy footballers from clubs in the Premier League and the German Bundesliga. All profits from the release, out on December 15, will go to the British Red Cross and the Shorncliffe Trust which is building a national education centre which will look at the social impact of military life.

Hooton said: "I wrote All Together Now about the extraordinary events on Christmas Day 1914 when British and German troops took part in an unofficial truce, singing Christmas carols, exchanging gifts and even playing football.

"It was a spontaneous act of humanity that transcended the horrors and barbarity of World War One and is a story which still resonates 100 years on. It is a story of hope and peace which should be told over and over again. I'm so very proud that so many artistes from all styles of music and the football authorities have come together to promote peace and reconciliation this Christmas and raise funds for the brilliant work carried out by the British Red Cross and Shorncliffe Trust."

The diverse mix of performers on the track include Suggs, Gabrielle, Guy Chambers, Holly Johnson, Jah Wobble, I Am Kloot, former Wanted star Tom Parker and 2014 winner of The Voice Jermain Jackman.

Jones and Hooton were among the stars who were part of the Justice Collective which had a Christmas number one two years ago raising money for Hillsborough families.

The schoolboy singers - 38 from the UK and 22 from Germany - spent a weekend together recording the song at Parr Street Studios in Liverpool, singing in both English and German and wearing their club shirts for the video.

Mike Adamson, chief executive of the British Red Cross, said: "Many people are aware of the huge contribution and sacrifice Red Cross volunteers made during the First World War - transporting and nursing the wounded as well as finding the missing on the battlefield. A hundred years on, our staff and volunteers continue in their footsteps helping people facing crisis around the world. We hope that this inspiring song will raise both money for, and awareness of our lifesaving work."

Chris Shaw, chairman of the Shorncliffe Trust, said it would help them to build "an immersive learning experience for thousands of students from across the country and enable them to walk in the footsteps of their great grandfathers who marched from Shorncliffe camp to their destiny on the Western Front".

Ged Roddy, director of youth at the Premier League, said of the young footballers who took part: "These lads are only a few years younger than some of the soldiers who met on those Flanders fields a century ago. It's a wonderful message to send out that a 100 years on football and culture are still bringing young people together."

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