SHEFFIELD is to host the Invictus UK Trials with a star-studded opening ceremony as hundreds of wounded British military personnel and veterans compete in sporting events to represent their country.
The Big Gig will launch the event featuring singing sensation Alfie Boe, classical artist Laura Wright, pop-sensation Heather Small, Suggs from Madness and Game of Thrones actor Charles Dance.
Tickets - priced £27.50 to £44 - are on sale now for the ceremoy which will be at Sheffield FlyDSA Arena on Monday, July 22, at 7.30pm. For tickets visit www.flydsaarena.co.uk or call 0114 2 56 5656.
It is being produced and presented by Sheffield’s Grammy award-winning songwriter and producer Eliot Kennedy, with designer Emma Willis, founder of the charity Style for Soldiers.
The starry night will also feature military orchestras and choirs, all giving their time to welcome the 475 wounded, injured or sick sporting veterans and service men and women, who will compete in the five day trails, along with their friends and family.
The Invictus UK Trials, from July 22 to 26, give competitors the chance to take part in an adaptive multi-sport event as part of their recovery journey, supported by their friends and family.
They will be competing for a place to represent the UK on th world stage in the next Invictus Games in The Hague in May 2020.
The trials programme is delivered by a partnership of Help for Heroes, the Ministry of Defence and the Royal British Legion.
Since the Invictus Games launched in 2014, hundreds of wounded British military personnel and veterans have represented their country, county, city or club in sporting events at home and further afield.
Hit maker Eliot Kennedy has supported military charities since 2013 after travelling to Camp Bastion with Gary Barlow for an ITV documentary, Journey to Afghanistan. Barlow then performed at Kennedy’s Hidden Wounds concert in 2016 in Doncaster to help raise £60,000 for Help for Heroes’ psychological wellbeing services for veterans.
Eliot said of the Sheffield event: “This is going to be epic - as fans know, as with all my charity gigs, you never know who could turn up. There’s inevitably a major surprise artist that will make the night even more special. I can’t wait to sing proudly with some of the biggest voices out there for the inspiring Invictus UK Trials.”
He added: “When I went to Afghanistan with Gary, it was an incredibly eye-opening experience. The Armed Forces risked their lives out there on a daily basis and the emotion of that trip stays with me. The Invictus Games show the incredible rehabilitative power of sport. I’ve long believed music has a similar power to bring people together, access our common humanity and be an uplifting force for good. The wounded, injured or sick service personnel and veterans inspire us all with their spirit and strength.”
Emma Willis MBE, founder of Style for Soldiers, whose exhibition Art in the Aftermath shows injured service personnel’s painting, poetry, film and sculpture over the Trials week, said: “It’s a show-stopping line-up of singers and actors who all powerfully evoke the emotions Invictus represents and the courage, ability and passion of our servicemen and women. I’m proud to be working with Eliot to help produce a celebratory concert worthy of these incredible men and women and their families.”
The Big Gig headliner Alfie Boe is one of Britain’s best-loved performers. The powerhouse voice with Platinum album sales has conquered the world’s most prestigious opera stages and theatres, and stole the show at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert at Buckingham Palace.
Charles Dance, the legendary British actor who has gained a huge young following playing Lord Lannister in Game of Thrones as well as Martin Benson in ITV’ s current The Widow, will be galloping into Sheffield to perform at the Big Gig.
Heather Small became one of the seminal voices of the ‘90s with massive worldwide success as part of M People. The title track of her solo album, Proud, became the soundtrack to major sporting and charitable events, such as England’s victory at the Rugby World Cup.
English soprano and classical-popular crossover singer, Laura Wright is a Royal favourite - she has performed for the Queen at her Majesty’s 90th birthday celebrations and at numerous sporting events.Lead singer of Madness, Suggs, arrives in Sheffield in May with The Madness Musical at City Hall as part of their UK tour and joins July’s Big Gig line-up in support of our wounded veterans and service personnel.
Proceeds of The Big Gig will be donated to Invictus UK and Style for Soldiers to support the recovery journeys of our wounded, injured or sick.
For Big Gig tickets visit www.flydsaarena.co.uk or call 0114 2 56 5656.