The charity War Child, which has helped improve the lives of 800,000 children in the world’s most war-torn countries, will receive a special honour at next year’s Brit Awards.
The Outstanding Contribution prize, awarded to Blur last year, will be dropped from next year’s ceremony. Instead War Child will be given a new Special Recognition Award, marking the charity’s 20th anniversary.
Set up in 1993 to deliver a food convoy and mobile bakery to war-stricken areas in the former Yugoslavia, War Child has provided humanitarian assistance and long-term rehabilitation to children trapped in conflict zones including Rwanda, Afghanistan, Iraq and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
War Child has enjoyed a long association with the music industry, producing charity albums, singles and concerts featuring artists including Sir Paul McCartney, Radiohead, U2, The Killers and Elbow.
Sir Paul McCartney said: “A lot of people say that music cannot change the world. I think it really can make a difference. Music can make people aware, put the issue into focus and shine a spotlight on the bad stuff. It also eats away at the horrors and alleviates some of the pain by raising the money to help these children. I have been supporting War Child since 1995. Their work saves lives. I urge everyone to support War Child”.
BRITs Chairman David Joseph said: “For two decades now, War Child has worked with artists to raise funds and awareness to help children whose lives have been torn apart by war. The BRITs are proud to give recognition for their vital work as well as saying thank you to all the artists who have given their time, help and energy to something so important”.
Adele was cut short at last year’s awards to allow Blur to close the show after receiving their Outstanding Contribution award.
With so many likely candidates having already received the lifetime achievement prize, the music industry has decided that it should no longer be automatically awarded.
James Corden will again present the awards, which take place on February 20 and broadcast on ITV. Damien Hirst has designed a new statuette for the ceremony.