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Kempsey Primary School pupils hoping to repeat previous chart success
ANNIVERSARY: Oscar Dryden Garrould, year five pupil at Kempsey Primary School, with his winning CD sleeve design.
EVERYONE knows festive classic I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day but few know the song’s surprising connection to a Worcestershire school.
Although 70s rockers Wizzard originally reached number four with the song in 1971 – being pipped to number one by Slade’s Merry Xmas Everybody – when rock legend Roy Wood decided to re-record the tune in 1981 he called in help from the children of Kempsey Primary School.
Pupils were invited to add their tuneful vocals during the recording in the nearby Old Smithy studio owned by Classic Hits Radio owner Muff Murfin – which has also played host to Black Sabbath, the Electric Light Orchestra and the Drifters.
Twelve lucky children were also invited to perform with Roy Wood on 1981’s Christmas Eve edition of Top of the Pops and appeared alongside Bucks Fizz, the Human League and Dollar.
After the song sold more than 500,000 copies the school was presented with a gold disc, which today has pride of place in reception.
Now, the school is marking the song’s 30th anniversary with a new recording entitled Welcome to Christmas Day written by village songwriter Neil Stevens.
Deputy headteacher, Sheila Marshall, said the children had dressed up in festive outfits for the recording.
She said: “It is 30 years this Christmas since Wizzard recorded their number one in the same studio, featuring children who are now parents of children at our school.
“It was recorded in July on one of the hottest days of the year and every child in the school at that time took part in the recording, which took three visits, as it included all 250 children.”
The pupils’ skills are not limited to their pleasing vocals, with the school also holding a design competition for the sleeve art, which was won by year five pupil Oscar Dryden Garrould.
The CD is available from Kempsey Primary School and proceeds will be shared between the school and Jitagemee School in Morogoro, Tanzania.