Bookmakers and retail giant now tipping the ladies from Chivenor and Plymouth to be top of the Christmas pops with their charity single.

AS an avalanche of public support builds for the Military Wives Choir, High Street music giant HMV is tipping them to take the Christmas number one spot and they have taken the lead in the betting stakes.

The retailer said pre-order sales of charity single Wherever You Are by the ladies from RMB Chivenor and Plymouth look set to be its largest in recent years.

And today (Tuesday) bookmakers William Hill had the song – whose profits will be going to the Royal British Legion plus military charity SSAFA – as favourite to top the Christmas Day chart at odds of 8/13, ahead of the X Factor at 6/5.

“Based on the momentum building very quickly around it, we’re predicting that it will land this year’s Christmas number one,” said Gennaro Costaldo at HMV.

“We’re seeing a huge amount of interest in this release, which is shaping up to be one of hmv.com’s biggest pre-orders for a CD single in recent years.

“It’s an original piece that has a spiritual, contemplative quality for our times - it has the platform of a TV show and lot of media coverage.

“It’s raising money for charity and most importantly perhaps, it’s tapping into the strong feeling many of us have towards our serving armed forces right now.”

While amazed by their chart-topping potential, the ladies who starred with Gareth Malone in the recent BBC Two series of The choir: Military Wives, are determined the message of their song and the charities it is for will not be lost in the media frenzy.

“It would be fun to be number one and something we never thought to achieve, but the point for us is raising money and awareness for the charities,” said Chivenor choir member Rachel Woosey.

“Chris Evans has been behind us so much, I think that has helped with the pre-orders and he has vowed to play it on his Radio 2 show every day until Christmas.

“I think we all just feel very honoured to be part of it.”

People in North Devon can hear the Military Wives Choir on Friday at 11am as some of them sing at the Christ Church Braunton Christmas Tree Festival, with all welcome to go along.

Members were also on This Morning today and on Sunday some of them will be appearing on the Strictly Come Dancing results show.