"A SOLDIER from South Devon is tipped for a Christmas number one after penning his debut single while posted in Afghanistan — and recording it with pop band McFly.
Xander Rawlins, 26 and from Kingswear, is a captain in the Grenadier Guards. He has written 1,000 Miles Apart, which is about leaving loved ones behind.
Xander was in charge of 30 men in Afghanistan and the video for his song shows the soldiers during their downtime.
The proceeds of the record will go to two charities Combat Stress and The Soldier's Charity.
Xander has been working on his song with members of the pop band McFly at their London studio. He met McFly when he played at the Troubadour music venue in London a couple of years ago with his band Rawlins.
Xander's band mates, brother Digby, 24, and pal Sam Phillips of Hope Cove, are also playing on the new single alongside a host of other professional musicians.
While serving in Afghanistan, Xander entertained the troops in the evening playing his guitar, a ukulele and a cornet.
The single is about soldiers leaving their loved ones at Christmas, something he knows a lot about, having worked away for the last four festive seasons. This year he will be on guard at Windsor Castle.
Proud parents Richard and Jayne, of Beacon Road, say the music industry is already very positive about Xander's song and they believe it has every chance of topping the charts this Christmas.
Jayne said: "He's always made a lot of noise and he's a very jolly, happy chap who loves singing and acting, so I'm not surprised at all that he's done this.
"I am quite surprised at how it has been received, which is very well so far and I'm very pleased for him because he enjoys it and he's doing something he always wanted to do."
"I think the single is excellent," Richard added.
"You would really need a music industry insider to judge whether it will reach number one.
"Like all these things, if it captures the public's imagination and they lock on to it's heartfelt feelings there's no reason why it shouldn't get there."
Xander is currently working on his first album, which he started writing whilst out in Afghanistan.
He's leaving the army next year and is in talks with various record labels with a view to carving out a career in the music industry.
The single 1,000 Miles Apart is due to be released on Monday December 13."