As it was in 2016, our second annual Christmas Carol Service was a wonderful way to end another incredible year for the charity.

The stunning St Giles-in-the-Fields Church, decorated so beautifully for Christmas, proved yet again to be the most magical of settings to come together with supporters old and new to celebrate the charity’s achievements over the year and to raise much-needed funds for our work, and despite the miserable, wet evening and the best (worst?) efforts of Southern Rail, we were still joined by a congregation of nearly 200 guests.

They were treated to wonderful musical entertainment from the incredible London International Gospel Choir and from Ramiel Brass, a quintet of extremely talented young musicians from the Royal Academy of Music including BBC Young Musician of the Year 2014 finalist, Matilda Lloyd. In between, our special guests, actors Simon Russell-Beale and Paul Jesson, brought a touch of sophistication to the evening with readings of John Betjeman’s ‘Christmas’ and an autobiographical fragment by Charles Dickens, whilst Director of the Poetry Society, Judith Palmer, gave a reading of ‘The Friendship Tree’ – the annual poem crafted with the help of primary school children in Westminster to celebrate the arrival of the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree.

As a result of the generosity of all our guests on the night, and thanks to contributions from our kind sponsors, the evening raised a grand total of nearly £5,500 after costs, a fantastic amount that will go a long way in our partner schools providing food for lunch, keeping extra teachers in classrooms, and improving facilities.

We are very grateful to everyone who helped to make the evening such a tremendous success and we look forward to doing it all again in 2018!

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