BRITAIN’S best-selling classical artist Russell Watson has been chosen by the Ministry of Defence to become the voice of Home Ground – an initiative to raise funds for Service charities.
Russell will release a single recorded with the Welsh Guards Choir, called The Home Ground Anthem, to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.
He will also headline a series of charity concerts with all proceeds feeding back to the Home Ground charities, which include The Haig Trust Coming Home Campaign, The Welsh Guards Benevolent Fund and the Falklands Veteran Foundation (FVF).
The self-styled “People’s Tenor”, who has sold in excess of seven million albums worldwide, was visibly moved on receiving a FVF tie from Falklands veteran Simon Weston OBE at the launch of the project (pictured above).
Close to tears, Russell said: “It’s very seldom that I’m lost for words but… if I can make the smallest amount of difference to people then I will do my best. It’s a genuine honour to be involved.”
One of the charities benefitting from Russell’s fundraising, Coming Home, has already helped several badly injured Servicemen and women by providing them with a home for life.
Set up by the Haig Housing Trust, it funds special adaptations for homes, such as wider door frames, wet rooms or modifications to kitchens.
Each home costs between £150,000 and £300,000 to adapt, and the Coming Home campaign aims to raise £20m to provide up to 100 much needed units.
Soldier and British Paralympian Derek Dernalagi, a double amputee, has benefitted from the charity. He said: “It has made a massive difference. A soldier like me, who has lost both limbs, cannot use their home in the same way as a normal person. I am so grateful that they have helped me and my family.”
The Home Ground Anthem will be available to download early next year – go to www.homegroundprojects.org.uk for more information. Look out for an extended interview with Russell Watson coming up in the spring edition of Army&You!