A 15-year-old West Country schoolgirl is the haunting voice of the song behind this year’s Poppy Appeal.
The soprano rendition of Remember has been recorded by, appropriately enough, Poppy Mills, a pupil at Wells Cathedral School in Somerset.
Her single tells of a soldier going off to war and leaving behind his family, with both knowing he may never return. He begs them not to forget him and to hold on to his memory, for he will never die as long as his story continues to be told in their lives. Originally written for the 2004 Hollywood blockbuster Troy, it was a hit for American singer, songwriter and musician Josh Groban.
Now Poppy, from Plymouth, has given it her own moving interpretation to help raise funds for the Royal British Legion. The idea was born after the singer appeared in last year’s Music of the Night extravaganza in her home city. She sang with some members of the Military Wives choir and HMS Heroes, composed of the singing children of services personnel.
Her mother, Karen, who has done much of the organisation and marketing for the song herself, suggested a forces charity single. It was enthusiastically embraced by RBL bosses who have allowed Poppy to use their treasured logo on promotional material.
Over the last couple of years, Poppy, who styles herself as The Angel of Music, has gained growing recognition for her classical crossover material. This summer, she was also selected as one of the first Olympic torchbearers in honour of her extensive charity work.
Yesterday, she said: “Rather strangely I had a number one in the Mexican classical charts with my version of Caro Mio Ben. And I also did an EP which mixed pop and musical theatre with my classical work. This is such a great opportunity for me, though. I really appreciate everything everyone has done to make it possible.”
The single was recorded in the chapel of The Royal Citadel, a military garrison on the Hoe in Plymouth built by Sir Francis Drake. It is home to 29 Commando Regiment of the Royal Artillery, a specialist unit which provides support to 3 Commando Brigade of the Royal Marines. Taking part were Poppy, a community choir and HMS Heroes under the watchful eye of Rob Young, musical director of the Military Wives.
Then, she was lucky enough to hold The Baton, which was crafted from the handle of a stretcher used at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan and which is used to help generate charity funds for servicemen and women. Poppy has been singing since the age of six and had her first singing lesson when she was just eight.
The song, which it is hoped will raise a six-figure sum, is now on sale and can be heard on her website: http://poppymills.carbonmade.com.