William Hill slashes the odds of a Christmas number one for local ladies after a a huge surge in public interest.

A heart-warming charity single recorded by the ladies of the Military Wives Choir has been tipped by bookmakers to give Simon Cowell and his X Factor hopefuls a major battle for the Christmas charts number one spot.

William Hill reported the odds of Wherever You Are by the Chivenor and Plymouth choirs have drastically shortened to 5-4 in recent days following nationwide publicity and several mentions by BBC Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans on his breakfast show. X Factor just remains current odds-on favourite at 4-7.

In the final episode of BBC Two’s The Choir, viewers saw the ladies and their celebrity choirmaster Gareth Malone deliver an emotional performance of the song to a packed Royal Albert Hall, with several members of the Royal Family including the Queen and Prince Charles looking on warmly.

Profits from the single will be going to the Royal British Legion plus military charity SSAFA.

Rupert Adams at William Hill told the Gazette it had stood at odds of 7-1 a week ago following the Chris Evans mention:

“Since then it has been one way traffic, we have taken about 10 times more money on them winning it than X Factor,” he said.

“It’s a good song, backed by a television programme, it really is a proper contender. Plus the number one chart is actually on Christmas Day this year, which increases the interest dramatically.”

Mr Evans also praised the song on his Monday morning show this week and said he thought it would reach number one.

Wherever You Are is released on December 19 by the Decca label, but will be available to download from Monday of next week (December 5) via Amazon and iTunes. It was recorded in London at Air Studios in Hampstead.

The song was written for the choir and Gareth by composer Paul Mealor, who wrote music for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Its moving lyrics were taken from letters the choir had written to their husbands whilst they were serving in Afghanistan.

The show and now the song seems to have captured the hearts of the nation, with massive public interest in what was once an almost unknown group of women until Gareth Malone forged them into a choir, as well as the ladies of Plymouth’s 42 Commando.

Chivenor choir member Rachel Woosey admitted it “had all gone slightly mad”:

“For us the single is about raising awareness and money for the charities, first and foremost,” she told the Gazette.

“Plus that there are families out there who support these guys - they do an amazing job and we are incredibly proud of them.”

She said the Royal Albert Hall performance had been “absolutely amazing” but also emotional. For many, their husbands had just returned home, whilst Rachel heard just two days before that her husband Major Mark Woosey – commanding officer of the Commando Logistic Regiment rear party during the recent deployment – would be going to Afghanistan in January.

“We have all become really good friends, but I know I have about 40 girls I can call upon as we all have that shared link between us.”

“Everybody’s support has just been so overwhelming and touching, we feel truly honoured to have been part of this and to realise how people feel about it – a big heartfelt thank you to everybody out there who has supported us.”

* THE RMB Chivenor Military Wives Choir is also looking for a new choirmaster, someone able to offer help and advice as well as “step into Gareth’s shoes.”

Ideally, they are seeking someone who lives relatively locally and would have time to work on the project. Anyone interested or who would like to find out more about the choir is invited to email militarywiveschoir@hotmail.co.uk.