Northern Ireland news

Local Firefighters aim for chart success with charity Christmas single

Station Commander Barrie Davies and Assistant Group Commander Patsy Begley, who are members of charity single group The Fire Tones
Paul Ainsworth

FIREFIGHTERS from Co Tyrone and Co Antrim taking part in a Christmas charity single have received support from Sir Bob Geldof and other celebrities as they push for chart success.

A group of firefighters from across the UK have joined forces with stars from The X Factor and The Voice to record a cover of the Band Aid Christmas classic 'Do They Know it's Christmas'.

The group, called The Fire Tones, are hoping sales from the single will raise money for the Firefighters Charity and the Band Aid Charity Trust.

The song was released on November 30 and among the voices belting out the lyrics are Mr Begley, Assistant Group Commander of Cookstown District, and Lisburn Station Commander Barrie Davies.

A cousin of The Voice winner Andrea Begley and nephew of Irish country music legend Philomena Begley, the Tyrone firefighter told the Irish News that participants are hoping a spate of TV appearances in the final run-up to Christmas will nudge the single up the charts and raise as much money as possible for the charities.

"There's a big push now in the run-up to Christmas, and some of the guys have been on ITV's This Morning with Phillip Schofield, which has helped raise the profile of the project," Mr Begley said.

"We are aiming for a few more appearances that can help push us up the charts as Christmas week draws near. So far the support we have had has been amazing, and we have even had lovely letters of support from Sir Bob Geldof and Midge Ure, who originally wrote the song.

"This meant a lot as their song is one of the most recognisable modern Christmas classics, and we have really tried to do it justice."

The original 1984 track raised £8 million within twelve months of release, and has been recorded by renewed Band Aid line-ups under Bob Geldof three further times, the last in 2014.

The Fire Tones version - which features vocal contributions from X Factor stars Marc Higgins and Richard Ryan - is produced by Steve Osborne, who has recorded hits by U2, Coldplay, and A-ha among others.

Mr Begley added: "We have reached positions in the CD sales chart and the indie chart, so now the push is on the crack the Top 100 of the Official UK Chart."

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