A SOUL singer has gone from volunteering in a Saltdean charity shop to recording the first original song for this year's much-anticipated John Lewis Christmas advert.

Celeste's stunning track accompanies the retailer's heartwarming animated advert which urges people to "give a little love" this Christmas.

She said: "I felt honoured to be asked to take part. I wanted to create something that felt classic but still true to who I am as a writer and performer."

But it was only a decade ago that a teenage Celeste, now 26, was working at the House Project Centre in Longridge Avenue, Saltdean.

The Argus:

The singer has since climbed her way to national acclaim, touring and performing at venues across the UK.

And her talents did not go unnoticed.

In February, she picked up the Rising Star gong at the Brit awards, provoking fond memories among some of her former colleagues in Saltdean.

Violet Simpson, who has worked at the House Project Centre for more than 11 years, said she watched the awards on the television.

"She was volunteering once a week in her spare time when she was still at college," she said.

"Just to think, she’s gone from working here to winning a Brit. It’s great to see someone make something of themselves.”

And now Celeste is once again positioned firmly under the nation's spotlight after her distinctive vocals soundtracked the latest John Lewis Christmas advert, released today.

The advert, which features a series of scenes showing how the ability to "give a little love" can make a big difference to others, is part of a campaign "inspired by the kindness of the British public during the pandemic".

It is aiming to raise £4million for two charities; food poverty organisation FareShare (of which Manchester United star Marcus Rashford is an ambassador) and housing support charity Home-Start.

Celeste's song will play a big part in these fundraising efforts.

A John Lewis spokesman said: "For the first time, a new song was commissioned for the Christmas campaign. 

"Written and recorded by British soul singer, Celeste, the song is also called ‘A Little Love’. 

"Last year, she won a Brit Award and in January this year she was crowned BBC Music’s Sound of 2020. 

"Every time the track is downloaded Celeste and her record label Polydor will make a 10p donation to the campaign."

James Bailey, executive director of Waitrose, said: “The pandemic has highlighted the growing inequalities across the country, with those who are already most vulnerable disproportionately impacted.

"Through our partnerships with FareShare and HomeStart we’re aiming to make a big difference to the lives of 100,000 families in the UK. 

“Each year festive adverts come and go - and some are remembered more vividly than others.

"But our advertising this year will leave a lasting legacy - and in that way, we hope it won’t just be for Christmas.”

“We did consider whether it was right to produce an ad this year at all.

"However, FareShare and Home-Start, told us how much of a difference this campaign could make, both on a financial level and in raising awareness of the incredibly important work they do with families across the UK.”