1. ITV Report

Single released to raise funds for Hillsborough families

Kenny Dalglish was at the launch of the charity single in Liverpool. Photo: Press Association

A charity single has gone on sale in a bid to raise funds for the families of the victims of the Hillsborough tragedy.

The version of the Hollies' hit He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother by The Justice Collective, which is vying for the Christmas number one spot, was launched at Liverpool's HMV store by stars including football legend Kenny Dalglish and comedian John Bishop.

The song was produced by Robbie Williams' long-time collaborator Guy Chambers with all the proceeds going to cover the legal costs of the families of the Liverpool supporters killed in the Hillsborough disaster in 1989.

Contributors to the charity Hillsborough song attend the single launch in Liverpool. Credit: Press Association

At the launch, Dalglish, Bishop and Liverpool Walton MP Steve Rotheram all called on the chancellor to waive the VAT on the single, something he has already done for the X Factor winner's single - the proceeds of which are also going to charity.

We are trying to get the same for the Hillsborough families. I think it's important that the Government does that for us. Every penny that comes in is going to go towards helping with legal costs, and I think that will be substantial.

I just hope it's getting near the end for the families because they have suffered long enough.

– Kenny Dalglish

But a Treasury spokesperson later said the decision on whether to waiver the VAT would not take place until after a ruling is made on whether to quash the original inquest verdicts, the Treasury has said.

An application was made by the Attorney General to quash the original Hillsborough inquest verdicts last week.

Comedian John Bishop said everyone involved with the single was keeping their fingers crossed for a Christmas number one but downplayed his vocal contribution to the track.

He said: "I was in the recording studio. There was me, Kenny, Alan Hansen, Heston Blumenthal, Steve Rotheram the MP, all singing.

"And then we were followed in by Holly Johnson and Robbie Williams. I think we're on it somewhere but I think they probably thought, 'more Robbie than Bishop'. I'm more of a backing singer really, I'm more of a Ringo."

A spokesman for bookmakers William Hill has said the song was 1/7 to be Christmas number one with X Factor winner James Arthur 9/2 second favourite.

He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother, originally a number three hit for The Hollies in 1969, got to number one when it was re-released in 1988.

The charity singing is bidding to be Christmas number one following its launch today. Credit: Press Association

Other stars who have contributed to the TJC single include Sir Paul McCartney, Peter Hooton of The Farm, Dave McCabe of The Zutons, John Power from Cast and Gerry Marsden, as well as further contributions from Paloma Faith, Eliza Doolittle, Beverley Knight, Mick Jones of The Clash and Paul Heaton from The Beautiful South.

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