Kirsty Weakley with this year’s rundown of the best charity singles hoping for the number spot this Christmas.
Ralph McTell: ‘Streets of London’ for Crisis
Ralph McTell has re-recorded his single Streets of London, which was first released 50 years ago when Crisis was formed, with help from Crisis clients and Annie Lennox.
The track has been played by Ken Bruce on BBC Radio Two and the video has been seen over 14,000 times on YouTube
It is available from iTunes, Amazon and Google Play for 99p and all proceeds go to the charity.
Lucy Ellie: ‘Stars’ for the RSPCA
As part of its Kindess at Christmas campaign the RSPCA has released the soundtrack to its Christmas advert – a cover of the Simply Red song Stars by Lucy Ellie Cooper as a single to raise money.
In what the charity describes as a “tear-jerking tale”, it follows the story of a toy dog who is abandoned before being rescued by the charity.
The video highlights the work that RSPCA’s staff and volunteers do with real animals.
Out of the Blue: ‘Merry Xmas Everyone’ for Helen & Douglas House
And now for a favourite at Civil Society Towers, Oxford University’s all-male acapella group’s annual offering is again raising money for Helen & Douglas House, which provides hospice care for children and young adults.
This year they have covered Slade’s Christmas hit with a couple of nods to other festive classics. There’s tinsel, dogs and ruffles aplenty in the video.
It can be bought from the group’s website and they are encouraging people who have watched the video online to donate.
Rak-Su: ‘Dimelo’ for Shooting Star Chase and Together for Short Lives
It’s something of a tradition for the X Factor winner to make a bid for the Christmas number one spot, but also to raise money for charity.
This year Shooting Star Chase and Together for Short Lives will benefit from sales of the single by Rak-Su.
Rak-Su is the first boyband to win the show and, in a break with tradition, their winner’s single is an original song instead of a cover, and is also a collaboration with established artists Naughty Boy and Wyclef Jean.
Simco Limited will donate 100 per cent of its profits from the sale of each download and all audio streaming of the single, and the Chancellor has also agreed to donate the VAT, in each case to be shared equally by the charities. This donation will be at least 20p plus VAT for each download sold in the UK.
HEY Children’s University: ‘12 Months of Culture’
Hull and East Yorkshire (HEY) Children’s University has rewritten the 12 Days of Christmas into the 12 Months of Culture to celebrate Hull being named city of culture.
Volunteers get a mention and the focal line celebrates Hull icon Jean “Busy Bee” Bishop -“A lady dressed as a bee”, who at 95 was awarded the freedom of the city for her fundraising efforts, often wearing a bee outfit.
The charity received support from local digital agency yesyesBD when it came to recording the song and filming the video, which is being sent out as a Christmas e-card to raise money.
Quite honestly, most of the references pass you by if you’re not from Hull, but it is a jolly tune and that’s all that really matters at Christmas.
Michael Ball and Alfie Boe: ‘Bring Me Sunshine’ for Rays of Sunshine Children’s Charity
Last Christmas Ball and Boe achieved the number one album with Together and this year are hoping for the top single with the cover of Morecambe and Wise’s Bring Me Sunshine.
They teamed up with Gareth Malone, Imelda Staunton, Jason Manford and others for the recording and they were joined by the Rays of Sunshine Children’s Choir, made up of a group of children all living with a serious illness.
Proceeds are going to the Rays of Sunshine Children’s Charity.
Jamie Lawson: ‘Footprints in the Snow’ for Walking Home for Christmas
Singer-songwriter Jamie Lawson has released Footprints in the Snow to raise money for the Walking Home for Christmas Campaign, organised by Walking with the Wounded, supporting ex-servicemen and women.
He’s hoping to raise £250,000 for the charity.
BEAK: ‘(Merry Xmas) Face The Future’ for the National Elf Service & The Mental Elf
Musician and producer Geoff Barrow worked with Bristol Band BEAK on (Merry Xmas) Face the Future and are raising money to support an online mental health research resource.
The National Elf Service & The Mental Elf isn’t a registered charity, but is an online hub for mental health research.
If burning Christmas trees and creepy animated elves with the faces of world leaders get you in the Christmas spirit then enjoy.
Big Big Train: 'Merry Christmas' for Night Stop
British progressive rock band, Big Big Train, released their Christmas single earlier this month and it entered the physical singles chart (which excludes downloads and streaming) at number two.
Chapel Choir Choristers of Jesus College, Cambridge have taken part and the video includes the actor Mark Benton.
Don't be put off by the fact it falls into the prog rock genre the track still features plenty of snowy scenes and sleigh bells as you would expect from any Christmas effort.
The band says a donation is being made to Night Stop, a homelessness charity, for each copy of the song sold.