Festive stardom for Washington forces wife

Elizabeth Eglintine from Washington, who sang during the Queen's Christmas Day broadcast with the Military Wives Choir.
Elizabeth Eglintine from Washington, who sang during the Queen's Christmas Day broadcast with the Military Wives Choir.
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SHE describes herself as “just a military wife”, but Elizabeth Eglintine has rubbed shoulders with Elton John, Gary Barlow and Paul McCartney in the past year.

Now the Washington-born singer, who is lead soloist of the Catterick Garrison Military Wives Choir, has performed in front of millions of TV viewers during the Queen’s Christmas Day message.

The choir shot to fame when they topped the charts alongside four other choirs with their album, In My Dreams.

The original group was created by choirmaster Gareth Malone, as part of a BBC show The Choir, from the wives and girlfriends of servicemen at Chivenor Royal Marines base and there are now more than 60 registered choirs.

The 32-year-old wife of Lance Corporal David Eglintine, a tank driver and gunner with the Royal Dragoon Guards, said: “I originally joined the Catterick Garrison Military Wives WAGS choir in 2010.

“David had just gone to Afghanistan, so he was away on tour and there wasn’t really a lot for wives, so I thought I would go, put the kids in the creche and just get away from it all for an hour and sing.”

Elizabeth, who is mother to five-year-old Finlay and three-year-old Isla, said she never believed that her love for karaoke would lead her to record a song chosen especially by the Queen to close her Christmas Day speech.

In the Bleak Mid Winter is the lead track of the choir’s most recent album, Stronger Together, which was released on November 5 and features Elizabeth as lead soloist.

“It was just for fun at first, really,” she said. “But then the popularity of it started to build up and we got asked to do bigger things.

“I had a text one night saying there was going to be a top-secret project and because I’m the soloist who sings at the beginning of the track, they needed me to come down.”

Elizabeth travelled to London with other representatives of the 24 choirs on the album and, to their surprise, they were taken to Buckingham Palace to record the single ready for Christmas Day.

“It was really surreal,” she said. “I was standing there on the spot where the Queen had been handing out MBEs the day before.

“I’ve met so many famous people like Elton John and Tom Jones and I’m thinking I shouldn’t really be here, I’m just a military wife.

“I don’t think anyone could have predicted how big the military wives choir would be.

“It’s been such a crazy, hard and emotional year.”

Elizabeth’s husband of five years, David, 28, will sign off from the Army in the New Year, after tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, to spend more time with the family.

Joking about his wife’s fame, he said: “Well, I don’t like the music, but she must have a good voice if she got lead soloist.

“I get texts off the lads all the time saying she’s on the telly again.

“I’m very proud.”

Twitter: @SunderlandEcho