Amanda Holden has said she hopes her debut single, a cover of Over The Rainbow, will “lift people’s spirits”.
The Britain’s Got Talent judge, 49, recorded her version of the song, famously sung by Judy Garland in 1939’s The Wizard of Oz, in 2019 and it was due to be released as part of an album this year.
Money raised by the track will go to NHS Charities Together, which supports staff and volunteers working on the front line of the coronavirus pandemic.
Holden said: “My album was going to be released just before all of this happened, so it’s all on hold, and this was not going to be the first single, so it feels very interesting. It’s a completely different way to go but it’s for charity so we’re looking at it in a different way now, it’s not for me… it’s for the NHS because I owe them everything, I owe them my life.”
The Heart Breakfast radio presenter, who is also an M&S food brand ambassador, has joined the company’s All In This Together campaign.
Her single’s artwork is inspired by a rainbow T-shirt being designed and sold by M&S to raise money for NHS Charities Together.
The rainbow has become a symbol of hope during the pandemic, with children making pictures of them to stick to their windows since schools closed.
Holden said she owed the NHS “so much” after its “saved” her life when her baby was stillborn in 2011, and her sister’s life when she was in a car accident.
She said: “Life has taken a really funny turn but one thing that I think has become really clear is that we are all in this together. And more than ever, we’ve reconnected with love and hope during this time.
“The wonderful team at Marks & Spencer have designed these beautiful rainbow T-shirts with all proceeds going to NHS Charities Together. This campaign and the NHS mean a lot to me because, as I’m sure you’ve read over the years, they’ve saved my life.
“They’ve saved my sister’s life after she was in a car accident. And, of course, our son Theo was born sleeping at an NHS hospital where all the staff were utterly extraordinary and treated us with so much empathy and love.
“So, I feel like I owe them so much. I feel like we all owe them a debt now and of course for the future to come. Last year, I recorded a version of Over The Rainbow. It’s a song I used to sing as a girl with my nan and grandad and one I love to sing with my daughters, Lexi and Hollie.
“When Marks & Spencer and I were chatting last week we remembered this song and lyrically it feels more relevant now than ever. My record label, VirginEMI, have kindly agreed to put the song out with all proceeds going to support this wonderful cause for the NHS.”
In 2011, at seven months pregnant with her son Theo, a scan revealed his heart had stopped.
Holden underwent a caesarean at West Middlesex University Hospital, where she had trained as a midwife for an ITV documentary called Out Of My Depth in 2009.
Her experience prompted her to set up Theo’s Hope, a fund providing bereavement counsellors in maternity units around the UK.
NHS Charities Together chief executive Ellie Orton said: “Everyone has their own reasons to be grateful to the NHS and it is brilliant that Amanda has decided to use her profile and talents to raise money in support of the NHS staff, volunteers and patients who are dealing with the crisis right now.
“I love the message of hope in the song and fingers crossed it will raise lots of money for the appeal.”
M&S head of sustainable business Carmel McQuaid said: “We are really proud to be supporting NHS Together Charities as we are all so grateful for everything the wonderful NHS Teams are doing.”
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