The Forces Sweetheart 10 Year Celebration
But with her brother treading the boards as a comedian, there soon was a very different fire in her belly, and the urge to perform like her bother in front of the masses only got stronger.
As soon as the cast came off, Kirsten joined her brother on stage for her first ever public performance, singing that age old classic, My Boy Lollipop. After a standing ovation, and not a dry eye in the house, this girl was hooked, and although a daunting prospect, she knew exactly where she wanted to be. Later on during her time in comprehensive school, she had the chance to perform in many venues, such as St David’s Hall in Cardiff and the reopening of the historic Gwyn Hall. By the time she was 10, Kirsten was handed the Rotary Award from the local council after performing and raising money for over 30 charity events in one year. Kirsten has also hit the stage with local male voice choirs, along with some big performances in countless local Mayor’s charities.
“It all first came about when I was contacted to perform at Sunderland Armed Forces Day 10 years ago, I had already performed at some forces events, but I truly fell in love with the entire experience after the Armed Forces Day. I absolutely love knowing that I can do what I love most, singing and entertaining, and it can also support others and help them. So if I can cheer someone up with my music, make them smile or help them to raise funds to support veterans in need then I will forever be happy”.
So I went on to ask where her first armed forces day was held, she replied;
“My first ever performance at an Armed Forces Day event was held in Sunderland. That was where I first found my passion and love for singing for the forces. I met so many inspiring people, I made friends for life, I loved hearing all of the veterans’ stories and that was when I realised doing what I love most, singing on stage could also help others, to bring music to those who need cheering up and to support forces charities”.
I followed this up by asking what Vera Lynn meant to her, she went on to add;
“Vera Lynn meant a lot to me. As an entertainer I have always looked up to her because of her genuine heart and kindness. She always had the passion and love for supporting the forces and that’s something I have had from a young age too. She was a wonderful lady with a true talent, heart of gold and it was an honour to know her and to be following in her footsteps”.
So with that said, I asked Kirsten about the first moment she knew she loved her and her music, she told me;
“I’ve always been a huge fan of hers and always sung her songs from a young age. It was a dream come true when I spoke with her lovely daughter, Virginia over the phone, Vera then kindly sent me a letter and signed photo. She said she was happy to know someone else was supporting the forces the way she had and we kept in touch from then on. When I read her book Keep Smiling Through – My Wartime Story, that was when I felt a deep connection to her. I feel as an entertainer I have a lot in common with her. Everything she has done has inspired me and will continue to throughout my career”.
So now we have lost this great lady, I asked Kirsten what happens next for her, she told me;
“It’s a terribly sad time losing our beloved Dame Vera Lynn, but her memory and music will forever live on. I will always support our heroes in whatever way I possibly can with the inspiration from her. I will continue singing her songs with pride, and I will think of her when I perform throughout my shows and for the troops. She will always be in our hearts. I’m looking forward to getting back to work after lockdown, to travel again for the troops and perform on cruise ships”.
Now things were starting to happen for Kirsten as she found herself appearing with her brother, playing brother and sister on Brainiac with Richard Hammond, where in true Hammond style got them to blow up a caravan. But that explosive chemistry started to light more fuses for her, as things were now starting to sky rocket as her career started to take off into the stratosphere.
Born and raised in the small village of Tonna in Neath near Swansea, South Wales, Kirsten found herself travelling far and wide all over the UK and abroad, promoting her sound and fast gaining recognition in the industry, meeting some very influential and inspiring people along the way.
With Wales as the land of song, the welsh community must be very proud of the hard work and dedication Kirsten has put in over the years, and from such a young age too.
At the age of thirteen Kirsten was invited to perform at the Sunderland Armed Forces Day, which was an amazing experience for her, especially when the papers labelled her as their Forces Sweetheart, which went on to being an official title by 2014, and was officially adopted by The Royal Marines following in the footsteps of Dame Vera Lyn and Katherine Jenkins, an award she can not only wear proudly for herself, but Wales also.
This all led to many more performances there, taking her on to Bristol, Cardiff and Caerphilly Castle.
Following this, Kirsten recorded a few original singles, the first of which was April Wine which she dedicated to BLESMA (The British Limbless Ex Service Men’s Association) followed by Never Stop Believing for The Royal Marines Association.
But the fun didn’t stop there, as she was made patron of “The Former Veterans Art Festival Project”, an honour to be treasured. Now with a full diary, Kirsten still managed to travel to some larger events held by the forces, one of which was “Lympstone Commando Training Base” for “The sergeants Christmas mess Ball”, “The Royal Hospital Of Chelsea” SSAFA’s yearly Summer Ball, “The Royal Marines Association Of South Wales” yearly events, “The Patsy Cullen award ceremony” for services in the D-day landings, and a performance at “The Evening Post Pride Awards”, whilst “Elaine Kidwell” received her award for services in the Swansea Blitz.
In a recent interview, Kirsten told me;
“I am so proud to have this title bestowed on me, and will always support the forces in any way I can.”
Three times a year, every year, from the age of six, Kirsten has performed at an annual charity show at “The Grand Theatre” in Swansea, and on one occasion was fortunate enough to be asked backstage to meet “Jimmy Osmond” and has performed with a great many people since, such as “Luck Friend”, “Ragsy”, “Cai Williams”, “Shellyan”, “Shaheen Jafaqoli” and “Lloyd Daniels” at many big events and has met, “Ant” and “Dec”, “David Roper”, “David stark”, “Louis Walsh”, “Katherine Jenkins”, “Mike Doyle”, “Sharon Osbourne”, “Gary Barlow”, “Nicole Scherzinger”, “Amanda Heart”, “Richard Hammond”, “Harry Hill”, “Tommy Steele”, “Jimmy Osmond”, “Shane Richie”, “Mike Stock”, “Dean Midas Maynard” and “Owen Money”.
Other performances have taken her to “St David’s Hall”, “The Millennium Centre”, Cardiff, “The Little Theatre”, Cardiff, “The Royal Hospital of Chelsea”, Armed Forces Events 6 years running, “La, La Piano Bar”, London, “The Brangwyn Hall”, Swansea, “The Grand Theatre”, Swansea, “BBC” and “ITV”, “Nickelodeon”, “ITV News”, many holiday parks across the UK, Hotels, Corporate Events, Weddings etc. “The Dylan Thomas Theatre” and “The Princess Royal Theatre”.
© Stargazer Music Magazine 2020
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