Yorkshire singers bid for Christmas Number One with a message

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Media captionA taste of some of Yorkshire's charity Christmas singles

There is a chance that this year's chart-topping festive single will have a lot more to say than "Merry Christmas everyone".

At least three of the contenders for the 2016 "Christmas Number One" are hoping they will be sending their own more serious message from Yorkshire.

It has to be said that as potential recording superstars they are an unlikely line-up.

They include former miners from a pit near Doncaster, South Yorkshire firefighters and friends of the Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox, who was victim of an appalling hate crime.

They are following a long tradition of using the Christmas single as a platform to raise serious issues as well as huge amounts of cash for charity.

It was not always that way.

The first official UK Christmas Number One was declared in 1952 when American superstar crooner Al Martino headed the charts with Here In My Heart.

Like those that took the title over the following years it was seen as no more than another way of boosting commercial sales.

It was another 32 years before the number one single found it could step out into the international political spotlight and still become a spectacular success.

Band Aid's Do They Know It's Christmas, performed by virtually every British and Irish bill-topping rock and pop star of the time, romped home as the Christmas number one in 1984.

It was spawned by the outrage of rock stars Bob Geldorf and Midge Ure at what they saw as the lacklustre response from world governments to a devastating famine in Ethiopia.

Image caption Ex-miners and their families performed Merry Christmas from Hatfield Colliery at the Stainforth Central Club in Doncaster

At the time Bob Geldof said he hoped to raise £80,000 for relief charities.

From its release on December 3 1984 it stayed at the top of the charts for five weeks, sold three million copies and raised more than £8m.

Band Aid reformed twice more to take the Christmas number one slots again in 1989 and 2004.

For the most part the music business has returned to business as usual with, among others, the Spice Girls, Cliff Richard and even Bob the Builder becoming Christmas chart toppers.

Yet some charity or "issue-raising" singles give even international pop stars a run for their money and occasionally push them aside. The number one spot was claimed by the Military Wives in 2011 and the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS choir last Christmas.

This year former miners and their families have teamed up with Scarborough singer and songwriter Joe Solo to record Merry Christmas From Hatfield Colliery. It is a heartfelt reminder of the way the community came together to ensure miners' families had a Christmas dinner in 1984 at the height of the year-long pit strike.

It also highlights the needs of a new generation needing support, with all profits going to local charity food banks in the villages around Doncaster.

South Yorkshire firefighters and 999 operators have also released their own bid for the top.

They have teamed up with Sheffield band Everly Pregnant to record a rousing rendition of Chip Pan - a comedy song with a serious message of fire risk at its heart.

Image caption Friends and former colleagues of Jo Cox feature in the recording of the Rolling Stones hit You Can't Always Get What You Want.

The bookies are giving it a 50-1 chance of making it the top.

By far the best odds are for a star-studded musical tribute to Jo Cox.

This glorious recording of the Rolling Stones classic You Can't Always Get What You Want features Kaiser Chiefs frontman Ricky Wilson, Cockney Rebel's Steve Harley, KT Tunstall, David Gray and a choir including Mrs Cox's friends and fellow MPs.

This celebration of the life of the young Batley and Spen Labour MP who made a name for herself fighting for tough causes is summed up in the haunting last lines of the chorus.

"You can't always get what you want

"But if you try sometimes, you just might find

"You just might find

You get what you need."

(Richard/Jagger 1969)