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Essex couple back Hillsborough Justice Collective against Cowell

By Essex Chronicle  |  Posted: December 21, 2012

By James Drummond james.drummond@essexchronicle.co.uk

  • hopeful: Jon Morter is pushing to get the Hillsborough song to Christmas No 1

  • Jon Morter is pushing to get Hillsborough song as christmas number 1

  • flashback: How we covered the story in 2009

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THE man who took on the X Factor and propelled Rage Against The Machine to Christmas No 1 is once again taking on Simon Cowell.

Jon Morter and his wife Tracy, of South Woodham Ferrers, stopped 2009 winner Joe McElderry from claiming the festive top spot after more than 800,000 Brits backed their online anti-X Factor campaign.

Now 38-year-old Jon, who was offered a job by Cowell after Rage Against The Machine's 1993 single, Killing In The Name, outsold his act's record, is trying to get the Hillsborough charity single to Christmas No 1.

The single He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother features an assortment of stars, including Paul McCartney and Robbie Williams, and will raise money for the families of the 96 Liverpool fans who died in the Hillsborough disaster in 1989.

"This year I was planning to sit back and watch everyone else have a go," said Jon, a social media expert.

But he was asked by the campaign, known as The Justice Collective, to use his internet savvy to propel the record, which is already tipped to beat the latest X Factor winner James Arthur, to the Christmas No 1 spot.

"I remember watching the Hillsborough tragedy and it had a big effect on me," he said.

"I was at an FA cup semi-final a year or two before that and I remember thinking 'it could have been me or someone I know'," he said.

The version of the Hollies' hit comes just months after a damning report into the handling of the crowd crush at Hillsborough, the home of Sheffield Wednesday, during an FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.

Former Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish, comedian John Bishop and Liverpool MP Steve Rotheram have all backed the campaign and Chancellor George Osborne has waived VAT on the single.

"It would be absolutely brilliant if we got the No 1 spot," said Jon, a father of three, who is plotting the campaign's digital strategy.

"It has a different feel to the 'Rage' campaign.

"We are not against the X Factor, we are trying to raise awareness, to put Hillsborough back on the news, and raise money to help some of the families with their legal costs."

But Jon admits that it would be "an added bonus" to beat Simon Cowell again.

His previous campaign raised £162,000 for homeless charity Shelter and persuaded Rage Against The Machine, who he still keeps in touch with, to play a free concert in Finsbury Park, north London.

"The campaign was founded in Essex, so it was a shame we couldn't do it at Hylands House," said Jon.

And after the dust settled on his achievements, both Jon and wife Tracy, who runs Tracy Morter Photography, were inundated with job offers – including one from Simon Cowell himself.

"He rang us up to say congratulations. Later he offered us a job but we couldn't take it – we'd spent so much time trying to beat him to the Christmas No 1 spot after all," said Jon.

The Christmas No 1 will be announced on Sunday.

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