South Yorkshire concert honours wish of tragic businessman - and raises money for brave soldiers

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Sheffield songwriter Eliot Kennedy today announced spectacular plans for his next all-star charity concert at the Vulcan hanger at Doncaster Airport.

It will launch the pop career of Jo Heselden-Edwards - daughter of Yorkshire entrepreneur Jimi Heselden.

Her late father saved thousands of lives after developing the Concertainer ‘blast wall’ used to build military defences, including Camp Bastion, in Afghanistan.

The former miner, who grew up on a Leeds council estate, became an unexpected millionaire and gave millions to charities, including Help For Heroes, before he died, aged 62, in a freak accident in 2010 riding a Segway, after buying the company.

Now daughter Jo, aged 45, really is about to sing his praises and honour his lifelong wish for her to become a singer.

Sheffield’s world famous record producer Eliot Kennedy - who has written for and worked with the likes of The Spice Girls, Take That, Bryan Adams, Donny Osmond, Celine Dion, Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder - has recorded an album with her.

It’s called Hidden Wounds, after a division of Help For Heroes, which helps ex-soldiers and those still serving who are living with anxiety, depression, stress, mental illnesses and post-traumatic stress disorder.

He will launch it with a dinner and concert, with Jo showcasing songs from the album with a 17-piece swing band, plus guest appearances by some of his many showbiz pals.

In keeping with the military theme, the launch will feature them playing beneath the iconic Vulcan bomber at the ‘Vulcan to the Sky’ hanger at Doncaster Airport, on Saturday, November 12.

Eliot, who has written the likes of Everything Changes, Picture Of You, Say You’ll Be There and When You’re Gone, will perform some of his own greatest hits and today revealed the night will include a reunion with John Parr and John Reilly to sing their Women Of Steel song, a tribute to the South Yorkshire women who kept the steel mills working during two world wars.

Guest already confirmed include The Puppini Sisters, an Andrews Sisters-style close harmony vocal trio, who have appeared on TV shows from Loose Women to Strictly Come Dancing, performed at Glastonbury and recorded Jingle Bells and Frosty the Snowman with Michael Bublé for his Christmas album.

Superstars like rock legend Bryan Adams and comedy great Peter Kay have turned up as surprise guests for his previous charity shows at Sheffield City Hall.

He said: “It’s always best to leave a few surprises until the night - you never know who is going to be there.

“The whole event is based around Jo, in memory of her father Jimi, who left this incredible legacy and who would always ask her to sing at karaokes.

Millionaire owner of Segway firm, Jimi Heselden, who died in freak accident after riding one of his two-wheel machines off a cliff.

Millionaire owner of Segway firm, Jimi Heselden, who died in freak accident after riding one of his two-wheel machines off a cliff.

“The Vulcan is also going to be a star of the show. It’s absolutely magnificent - enormous, like a passenger jet. It’s going to be front and centre... and underneath it will be the band.

“The intention of course is to raise as much money and profile for such an amazing charity.”

Jo, of Wetherby, has the support of husband Justin, 47, daughter Jessica, seven, and family and friends. Now she wants the public to get behind the fundraiser with all proceeds from the album and event going to Hidden Wounds.

The album will feature favourite songs like Anyone Who Had A Heart and The Living Years, plus a new song she’s written with Eliot, called Hidden Wounds.

She said: “It’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was a child.

“I think my dad would be really proud of me. He was fun, outgoing, very ambitious and a grafter. He was one in a million, a hero.”

n Tickets for the Hidden Wounds event, including three-course meal, on Saturday, November 12, 7pm to late, are £100, with VIP tickets £200. Visit Hidden Wounds Concert for details.