Page last updated at 14:55 GMT, Tuesday, 7 October 2008 15:55 UK

Salvation Army sign record deal

The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army signed the deal on London's Millennium Bridge

The Salvation Army has signed a 1m record deal with Universal, the same label that looks after Amy Winehouse, Eminem and Take That.

The organisation's International Staff Band has already recorded their first album for the label, called Together.

It is hoped sales of the record, out in November, will boost Christmas fund-raising and help the group during the current financial crisis.

Universal said it was delighted to have signed "the world's ultimate buskers".

'Raise awareness'

Major David Hinton from The Salvation Army said: "This is a really exciting project, which we hope will not only raise money but will also help to raise awareness of the needs of the people with whom we work."

The organisation famously helps people who have fallen on hard times, including the homeless and the elderly.

Major Hinton said fundraising was particularly important during the current economic crisis - despite profits at The Salvation Army's charity shops rising by 64% to 6.2m over the last year.

"These are uncertain times and we anticipate increasing numbers of people in need," he said.

At a time when lives are being turned upside down, people need something to rely on
Dickon Stainer, Universal

"We are so grateful to the public without whom we would be unable to sustain much of what we do."

The album features a collection of songs, including Nessun Dorma, You Raise me Up and In the Bleak Midwinter.

Representatives from Universal and The Salvation Army signed the deal on the Millennium Bridge in central London earlier today.

Universal's Dickon Stainer said: "At a time when lives are being turned upside down, people need something to rely on.

"The sound of The Salvation Army gives comfort to people when times are tough, as they are now. We hope that this record will help expand the reach of their traditional fundraising."

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