Singing East Lancs airman impresses Ed Sheeran in Afghanistan

Oli Upton, left, with Ed Sheeran

Oli Upton, left, with Ed Sheeran

First published in News Burnley and Pendle Citizen: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

AN AIRMAN serving in Afghanistan saw his musical dreams come true when he performed a song for pop star Ed Sheeran as he entertained troops.

Oli Upton, 30, from Darwen, a gunner in the RAF, stunned singer/ songwriter Ed with a rousing rendition of the Oasis classic Don’t Look Back In Anger, at Camp Bastion.

Sheeran was visiting the military base to perform a series of small shows to service personnel.

But former Moorland High School pupil Oli went one step further and produced a guitar to serenade the chart-topping musician.

Oli, currently on leave back in the UK with wife Amanda and step son Jacob, said: “Ed was visiting the towers we use as lookout posts to protect Camp Bastion’s perimeter.

“The guitar was somebody else’s and was thrust upon me at the last minute. I played first, then he played for us. It was amazing to see him perform. I'm a huge fan.

“At the end when he clapped, I thought ‘this is like George Best applauding a Sunday league team’.

“In hindsight, I wish I had chosen a different song but, because it was so last minute, and I was a tad ner-vous, it was the only song I could remember.

“I was playing guitar to a world-famous musician, in the middle of a war zone. I’ve got to say that’s pretty cool.

“I was in a band as a kid. I learnt guitar at 14, but now I only play to family and friends. Our band was called Imajica, and we played Darwen Live when we were 15.”

For Oli, the meeting was a real tonic after a difficult time. He was injured during a rocket-propelled grenade attack in Afghanistan, in 2012.

He said: “This time I only went out to Afghanistan from February until May. I joined the rest of the squadron out there late recov-ering from injuries suffered on my last tour.

“I suffered fragmentation wounds to my left arm and right leg from an RPG in September 2012, the night Camp Bastion was attacked.”

Comments (2)

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2:13pm Fri 16 May 14

noddy57 says...

Put your gun away and get on that stage,,its much safer and it pays more.
Put your gun away and get on that stage,,its much safer and it pays more. noddy57
  • Score: 3

5:51am Sat 17 May 14

2 for 5p ridesagain says...

I see my tax money is being put to good use. Paying military personnel to sit around singing songs.
I see my tax money is being put to good use. Paying military personnel to sit around singing songs. 2 for 5p ridesagain
  • Score: -2

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