A song written by an east Kent woman and sung by a Dover schoolgirl could be featured in commemorations to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War next year.
Vida Ivatt wrote the words and composed the tune for Soldier, Soldier, about a young soldier who receives a letter from his girlfriend while serving in Flanders.
But with no musical background, she could not write the notes down. So she recorded herself singing it, and sent it to the Duke of York’s Royal Military School to ask if its musical director would listen to it.
Georgia Jackson, Vida Ivatt and David Cresswell.
Major David Cresswell was so impressed with what he heard that he harmonised and orchestrated it. Not only that, he realised 17-year-old student Georgia Jackson had the perfect voice for the song.
And now the song looks set to receive recognition on a much wider scale, as plans are drawn up for the First World War commemorations next year.
Georgia went to London to sing Soldier, Soldier at the launch of the Dukies’ Association, an organisation for former pupils of the school. The event was held at the Saatchi Gallery, on the site where the school was founded more than 200 years ago.
“It is a very haunting piece, and Georgia’s voice is just right for it,” said Major Cresswell.
For Vida, who lives at Wingham, it is a dream come true.
Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Vida has been using a wheelchair for the past 18 months and decided to write songs. Soldier, Soldier is her fourth.
Georgia, whose home is in Leeds, is studying for A-levels in psychology, drama and religious education, and would like to go on to university with the aim of becoming a lawyer.
“Soldier, Soldier is a beautiful song,” she said.
It is hoped that the song will be recorded to raise funds for military charities, including Care For Casualties – the Rifles’ charity, which helps injured soldiers and their families.
Full story in today's Dover Mercury.