Singers Alesha Dixon, Pixie Lott and Susan Boyle have joined forces to launch this year's Poppy Appeal. Thousands gathered to watch former Strictly Come Dancing judge Alesha and pop princess Pixie perform at a free concert in Trafalgar Square on Wednesday, which was compered by ITV presenter Ben Shephard.
Songstress Pixie was thrilled with the turn out, and said : "It is such an honour to be performing here in Trafalgar Square." Proud of her performance, the starlet said: "Thank you for coming down for such a great cause as the Poppy Appeal. It is a privilege to be here."
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Britain's Got Talent judge and singer Alesha was also overwhelmed by the crowd. Performing hit singles Breathe Slow and The Boy Does Nothing, the singer was keen to get the crowd jumping. She said: "It is an absolute honour to perform. If it gets really rock 'n' roll feel free to jump into the fountains because that always works!"
As Pixie performed her hit singles Mama Do and It's All About Tonight, she was accompanied by the Royal Legion's trumpetiting faction of the Band of the Grenadier Guards. Alesha also performed a string of hits with some orchestral help from The Corps of Drums of the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards and 1st Battalion Irish Guards. The girls were later joined by the Military Wives Choir, who have previously scored a number one hit single with choirmaster Gareth Malone. The women performed their official Royal Legion single Landlocked, which hopes to score the girls yet another hit.
Starring an event close to her heart Pixie's ex-Royal Navy serving grandfather also travelled to Trafalgar Square to support his granddaughter. Keen to understand the military heroes she was raising money for, the star shared her experience of visiting the RAF Northolt batallion, with the audience, describing the experience as "amazing".
The singer said: "I have never done anything like that before, to meet the soldiers and their families and the children - and just the sacrifices they make and how important the money raised is to help them."
Britain's Got Talent sensation Susan Boyle opened up the festivities in Scotland, donning a matching red hat and coat in homage to the trademark poppy. The singer said that she was "very proud" to open the official ceremony as her own father Patrick had courageously served in the Second World War. The Edinburgh Garrison of The Military Wives' Choir helped kick off the celebrations with a performance of M People's Proud and Sing, which was previously performed at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Concert.Fifty-one-year-old Susan then posed for pictures with the choir members whilst they showered her in red poppies, and giggled as she posed for pictures and signed autographs for fans.
Founded in 1922, the Poppy Appeal aims to raise a record-breaking total of 42 million this year for ex-servicemen and women. The Royal British Legion spend spends £1.7 million a week on care and support for military families, including grants, employment advice and funding, emotional support, tribunal and inquest advice, care homes and family breaks. A staggering 350,000 are involved in selling poppies to the public each year, with roughly 40 million made a year.
Poppies for this year's appeal are on sale now, and will be available until November 11.