In the lead up to Christmas the Mayoress and I have been delighted to be invited to carol services and Christmas concerts across the city. It has been a real insight on the rich variety of such events, from primary school nativities to the rather more formal “Nine lessons and carols”.

One such event is the Mayor’s Charity Christmas Concert in the Guildhall. This is such a delightful charity event, this year raising money for Age UK. I attended it for many years before I was Mayor and for me, it signals the start of festivities.

The Guildhall was so fortunate to have the Elgar Chorale providing the music. The quality, was as always, top notch with a good mix of well-known Christmas music and some I hadn’t heard before, including one written this year by their conductor, Piers Maxim. We were actively encouraged to sing along to the carols, which is rarely allowed at concerts and even allowed to sing the harmonies if we wanted!

The icing on the cake of this event is the amusing readings that punctuate the music. These were acted out hilariously for the audience and even included a letter written by Elgar to a friend at Christmas. I’d never realised he’d had such a sense of humour!

The audience was the largest we had seen for many years and there was a festive family atmosphere. Over £1000 was raised on the night for Age UK and it was great to have Hazel, chair of the local branch there to tell us more about the charity.

Of course, Christmas is not always easy for everyone and it’s a time of year that we really need to be aware of others perhaps going through a difficult time. Look out for neighbours and friends who might be struggling.

Well, I am signing off Mayoral duties for 2023 shortly and wish you all the season’s greetings.



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