A choir which brings together relatives of missing people and is backed by the mother of Madeleine McCann, has been taking part in auditions for the show.
The families first united in song three years ago as a way of sharing their grief, fundraising and increasing awareness.
About 250,000 people disappear each year in the UK. Missing People Choir organisers came up with the brainwave of entering the ITV talent competition with their song I Miss You.
The Missing People’s Choir is auditioning for BGT and is backed by the mother of Madeleine McCann
The result of the audition at the London Palladium is not yet known but it is said their rendition reduced onlookers to tears.
It’s our hope that our music will inspire and comfort others and raise awareness
Peter Boxell – Parent
Viewers will see a recording and judges Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, David Walliams and Alesha Dixon will decide if the choir progresses to the live shows in the spring.
Although she’s not singing, Kate McCann, 48, whose three-year-old daughter Madeleine vanished in Portugal in May 2007, is an ambassador for the charity behind The Missing People Choir.
Members include Peter Lawrence, father of Claudia, who vanished in York in 2009, and Rachel Elias whose musician brother Richey Edwards was last seen 22 years ago this week.
Kate McCann and Gerry McCann at the launch of Kate McCann's book ‘Madeleine’
It has emerged that the choir, which is completed by volunteers and supporters, has almost supernatural origins.
Peter Boxell, whose son Lee, 15, has not been seen for 29 years, had a dream that he was singing to the teenager.
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“When I woke up, I remembered the lyrics so well,” says Peter, 69.
“I sang ‘He never came home, where is my dear son Lee?’”
He mentioned the song to staff at the charity Missing People.
He said: “They asked if I would sing it. I jokingly agreed but they really meant it.”
The next step was a session with composer and conductor James Hawkins, who is now the choirmaster.
Peter, from Cheam, south London, adds: “He is so talented. He managed to make a backing track that sounded just like the song I’d had in my dream. Then he gave me an hour’s singing lesson.”
Peter Lawrence, father of missing Claudia Lawrence
The result was I Hope, which was to become the Choir’s debut single. Peter bravely performed the track solo at a charity carol concert, receiving a standing ovation from the 800-strong audience.
Word spread and a fully fledged choir, now including more than 40 singers, was the natural progression.
“It has been very rewarding meeting other families,” explains Peter.
“We’ve got something in common but it’s not just our loss. It’s our hope that our music will inspire and comfort others and raise awareness. I can never give up hope that Lee will come home.
"When I perform I feel like I’m singing for my son. I can’t do anything else to find him. But I can sing.”
It’s a sentiment echoed by Peter Lawrence, 75, who has desperately been searching for any trace of his missing daughter for seven years now.
Claudia failed to turn up for her shift as a chef at York University.
The families first united in song three years ago as a way of sharing their grief
The search is due to be scaled back as police say they have no new leads. “In some ways it’s very difficult to sing the songs because of their words,” says Peter.
“But everyone tells us just how moving the lyrics are.”
The new single I Miss You includes the line: “I never thought I’d be without you, I always thought you’d be here safe with me.”
At the audition at the London Palladium Amanda Holden is said to have told the choir they are “an inspiration”. During the performance images of missing people flashed up on a screen.
A BGT source says: “You could tell in their voices how much it means to them.”
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Some of the background stories are not so well-known as those of the McCanns and the Lawrences but they’re all equally poignant.
In a few cases the missing relative of a choir member has been found dead but mothers and fathers continue to sing in memory of their loved ones.
In the past they’ve joined forces with music stars including Rick Astley, Chesney Hawkes and Nik Kershaw but BGT is their most ambitious step yet.
The appearance in front of millions of TV viewers is sure to draw attention to the plight of families all over the UK who are suffering the anguish of not knowing.
Don’t bet against the Missing People Choir going all the way to the final of BGT on a wave of emotion.