Westenra joins forces
Christchurch soprano Hayley Westenra, 22, will top the bill at the Royal British Legion’s annual Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall on November 7, replacing glamorous Welsh mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins as the Forces Sweetheart. Westenra, who has been a staunch supporter of Forces’ charities since she shot to fame as a singer six years ago, has also been recruited by the British Legion to be the face of this year’s Poppy Appeal. Westenra, who last year travelled to Basra to perform for British troops, has a deeply personal interest in the work of the British Legion, thanks to a long family tradition of wartime service. Her great-uncle, Squadron Leader Jerry Westenra, was one of the bravest RAF aces of the Second World War, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross and bar in dogfights with the Luftwaffe and the Italian air force over Greece, North Africa and France. After discovering her great-uncle’s military history Westenra became involved in supporting the armed forces. “To appear at this year’s Festival of Remembrance is such a great honour.” She is also scheduled to perform live at the National Theatre in Taipei, Taiwan on October 3 with Taipei Symphony Orchestra.