Press Release

Katherine Jenkins OBE thanks GCHQ for keeping Britain safe

Last Updated: 28 Apr 2016
Topics: Our people
Director Robert Hannigan welcomes Katherine Jenkins OBE to GCHQ. The Welsh mezzo-soprano gave up her time to perform for the staff as her way of saying thank you for all their hard work.

Press Release - 25 Feb 2016

Today, Katherine Jenkins OBE sang for staff at GCHQ to thank them for their efforts to keep Britain safe.

This was the first concert to be held at GCHQ’s iconic Cheltenham headquarters.

Robert Hannigan, Director GCHQ, welcomed the Welsh mezzo-soprano on stage and said: "We are delighted to welcome Katherine to GCHQ.  It is wonderful for our staff and all their efforts to be recognised and thanked, so today’s concert means a great deal to all of us".

Katherine gave up her time to perform at GCHQ in recognition of the civilians and military who work together every day, be it tackling terrorists, serious criminals or cyber threats.  She said: "I’m delighted to have been asked to sing here to show my support for all those keeping our country safe, as I am aware how hard they work!  I have also kindly been shown around the headquarters which has been very interesting. I would like to wish them my on-going thanks for all that they do for our country!"

450 lucky GCHQ staff won a ticket to watch the 45-minute live performance of popular songs, from the well-known classic Habanera from Carmen to the Rugby anthem World in Union.  In return, they donated approximately £2200 to Care after Combat and The Wilderness Foundation, charities for which Katherine is an ambassador.

Staff were thrilled to be part of the historic first concert. Analyst Steve said "It was great to hear Katherine perform at GCHQ, such a unique experience.  I’ve had many memorable days in my career, but usually I can’t go home and tell my family about them.  It’ll be nice to be able to share this story".

Video of Katherine’s thank you message to GCHQ.

Photo gallery of Katherine's visit.

Notes for Editors

About GCHQ

  • Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) is one of the three UK Intelligence and Security Agencies, along with MI5 and the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6).   GCHQ works to protect the UK and its citizens from a range of threats to national security, including from terrorism, serious and organised crime and cyber-attack. It also works to protect UK forces wherever they are deployed and, through its Information Security arm CESG, provides policy and assistance on the security of Government communications and electronic data. 

About Katherine Jenkins

  • Welsh Classical superstar Katherine Jenkins OBE signed the biggest recording deal in classical music history at the young age of 23 and has gone on to record ten studio albums as well as perform for the Pope, Presidents and Royalty. The lyrical mezzo-soprano's most recent album ‘Home Sweet Home’ was her 7th studio album to reach Number 1.
  • Known as ‘the Forces’ Sweetheart’ for entertaining the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, Katherine is the only artist confirmed by request to perform at Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday celebration in May 2016.

About Care after Combat

  • Care after Combat is a UK-based charity providing professional assistance for the well-being of veterans and their families.  The charity helps to maintain and promote camaraderie in the veterans’ community for those feeling vulnerable or at unrest with society.  

About The Wilderness Foundation

  • The Wilderness Foundation UK was founded in 1976 by Dr Ian Player, international conservationist, and Sir Lauren van der Post, writer, explorer and philosopher. Ian Player, a native of South Africa, is best known for saving the white rhinoceros from extinction.  Their work lives on in Wilderness Foundation Global and the Wilderness Foundation UK, expanding to touch thousands more lives in many different ways.  They still take adults, and now young people, on once-in-a-lifetime wilderness trail adventures in Southern Africa – adventures that often inspire a deep connection with nature and a passion for conservation.