All Call Signs charity single

by Mark Rowe

Pictured are Rusty Firmin, Donna Armstrong, Antony Stephen Malone, singer and forces supporter Kirsten Orsborn and other veterans in a recording studio with, as backing singers, children and supporters of soldiers killed in action while serving their country. They have recorded a cover version of the song “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s my Brother”, as a band named “All Call Signs”, in aid of a dozen charities for veterans.

As background, a former paratrooper and Falklands veteran Tony Ferguson who faced the all too familiar suffering from PTSD and homelessness had an idea of such a charity single to promote awareness of these issues and the growing rate of suicides among veterans. If the song and CD raised any monies, they would go to smaller charities not widely known or well funded, who however provided, direct, immediate and critical support for veterans facing homelessness, mental health, PTSD and addiction problems.

Initially the group was to be called Veterans Aid as it was based on the “Band Aid” concept where unrelated people would get together and sing for the greater good. Organisers could not use the Veterans Aid name as it was already a registered charity in England. The charity Veterans Aid have been supportive with help and advice. Hence organisers approached “All Call Signs” a charity who provided a peer to peer service for veterans and who launched the “Beacon Alert” system via social media to alert as many people in the UK as possible that a vulnerable veteran was missing, and encourage people to search for the veteran. The name “All Call Signs” encompassed what organisers wanted to achieve with the CD – all services, every man woman and child coming together to prevent further tragedy.

All Call Signs came on board as one of the beneficiary charities. Antony Stephen Malone and Donna Armstrong are directing the project and asked Nicki Mortimer and her company “All Call Signs Production LTD”, to co-ordinate PR and the financial and project administration.

The 12 charities are:

1. Homeless Veterans Project SC049441 – Free clean, fully equipped secure, temporary accommodation including all utilities, for veterans at risk of homelessness, for 12 weeks whilst assisting them to obtain permanent housing and support. Houses also available as a respite or “short break” to veterans and their families, free. This is available to all veterans, UK Wide. 2. Lee Rigby Foundation – supports veterans and their families suffering from trauma and bereavement, relieving mental and physical distress by providing retreat and respite facilities. 3. Forgotten Veterans UK – support for Veterans and Families in need.

4. Woody’s Lodge A drop in centre supporting, mentoring and signposting veterans of the armed forces and emergency services, reservists and their families 5. Help for Homeless Veterans – support for veterans facing homelessness 6. Outpost Charity – emotional, social and practical support for veterans and families suffering through hardship and the running of veterans’ camps to encourage well-being and relieve stress.

7. Phoenix Heroes – support for Veterans and families dealing with PTSD and homelessness as well as providing training courses and employment opportunities 8. Pilgrim Bandits – help and inspire wounded veterans form the military and emergency services, practically and emotionally. 9. All Call Signs – a peer to peer service for veterans and who launched the “Beacon Alert” system via social media to alert as many people in the UK as possible that a vulnerable veteran was missing, and encourage people to search for the veteran and, possibly, save his life.

10. 353 Charity. A charitable trust with the aim of helping members of the military community by delivering long term support to soldiers and their families and supporting legacy and memorial projects for bereaved families 11. Pegasus Appreciation Group – an online auction group with the charitable aim of providing direct, immediate and practical help and support for veterans undergoing hardship. 12. Veterans Aid – helping ex-servicemen and women in crises.

Singer Kirsten Orsborn regularly visits the Royal Hospital of Chelsea to perform and chat to the Chelsea Pensioners. In February, Kirsten travelled to the Falkland Islands to perform for the serving and ex veterans along with the children and families living there. Kirsten is patron to Minds at War and The Homeless Veterans Project.

The recording studio was Blue Fire Productions, owned by Charlotte Bailey in Leeds who advised on the project. James Beaumont and Max Russell sound engineers helped structure the recording.

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