Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland firefighters in bid to light up the charts with Christmas charity song

By Claire Williamson

Firefighters from Northern Ireland are aiming for a Christmas number one after teaming up with colleagues from across the UK to release a charity single.

The group, known as The Fire Tones, release their version of Band Aid's Do They Know It's Christmas today to raise money for the Firefighters Charity and the Band Aid Charity Trust.

Among those taking part from the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) are Patsy Begley, who is assistant group commander in the Cookstown district, and Barrie Davies who is station commander at Lisburn headquarters.

Patsy is no stranger to music - he is the nephew of country music queen Philomena Begley and the cousin of The Voice winner Andrea Begley.

He was approached by Welshpool firefighter and organiser Chris Birdsell-Jones, who came up with the idea last December.

Patsy said: "The organisers got in touch with me about the project back in April and I was really keen to get involved for such a great cause.

"But I thought it would be a low-key affair, I certainly didn't realise the scale of the production and the talent that would be involved.

"The recording session was just incredible. We wanted to honour the spirit of the original recording and get it all done in one day, just as they did with the original Band Aid single.

"So we all drove or flew into Birmingham for a 12-hour recording session, where we worked with producer Steve Osborne and expert vocal arranger Louise Warren."

Barrie, who worked in Wales before recently transferring to NIFRS, said he was one of the first to be recruited to the band.

"I've been singing professionally for 18 years, so the organisers knew this was something I'd be interested in.

"I've also used the services of the Firefighters Charity in Devon when I was injured a few years ago," he said.

"The charity provides physical rehabilitation for firefighters recovering from injury or illness, as well as mental health support for those who've experienced psychological trauma.

"So I was glad to be able to give something back."

Both firefighters are amazed at the popularity of the project.

Barrie said that no matter how high the single charts, it will have all been worth it.

He said: "It was fantastic to have worked with such a talented group of people and I'm proud to have been involved.

"Please help us support others this Christmas and buy the single."

The single is released on iTunes, Spotify and Amazon music and can also be purchased from Tesco.

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