British soldier hopes to top charts
02 December 2010, 08:58
London - A British army officer is hoping to top the festive singles charts with a song about spending Christmas away from home in Afghanistan.
Captain Xander Rawlins, who served with the Grenadier Guards, was tipped a contender for the coveted Christmas number one slot with his song 1 000 Miles Apart.
The video for the single includes footage filmed by the 25-year-old in the restive southern Helmand province.
Bookmaker William Hill has offered odds of 25-1 on it reaching the top spot after its release on December 13.
The record faces stiff competition as in recent years the Christmas number one spot usually goes to the winner of a television talent contest.
If anyone could challenge The X Factor winner, "it may well be an artist from this background," said spokesperson Gennaro Castaldo from music retailer HMV.
"We can see the beautiful 1,000 Miles Apart as a potential dark horse for the Christmas number one."
Rawlins, who plans to leave the forces next year to pursue a career in music, is following in the footsteps of singer-songwriter James Blunt, formerly an officer who served in Kosovo.
A total of 345 British troops have been killed in Afghanistan since operations began in 2001.