Date published: 12 December 2017 by Anna Jackson
Hundreds of guests filled the pews of the stunning St Paul’s Church, Knightsbridge on Wednesday (6 December) for the much-loved celebrity studded London Carol Concert which raised more than £30,000 for seriously ill children and their families.
ITV Presenter and Rainbow Trust Patron Mary Nightingale hosted the event, voted one of London’s top 2017 carol concerts. Other special guests and speakers included actress Maureen Lipman (Prime Suspect and James Bond), actor Robert Portal (King’s Speech and My Week with Marilyn), Annabel Croft (former British number one tennis player), actor Jason Flemyng (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch) and Rupert Young (BBC’s Merlin).
Guests enjoyed mulled wine and mince pies and heard a range of wonderful festive readings and performances from The West End Gospel Choir and The Farleigh School Chapel Choir, from near Andover, Hampshire, who sang arrangements of classical Christmas songs and led the congregational singing of traditional Christmas Carols.
Classical Reflection, comprising classically trained sopranos and identical twins Naomi and Hannah Moxon seen on The Voice sang In the Bleak Midwinter.
One of the concert’s many highlights was hearing Rory McConnachie, an 11-year-old sibling of one of the families in London supported by Rainbow Trust, read A.A. Milne’s poem Sneezles beautifully.
Rory’s younger brother Kitt will be two on Christmas Eve and is recovering from cancer. Their mother Saethryd, from Mortlake, West London, was extremely proud to hear Rory read and said Rainbow Trust Family Support Worker Angie helped the whole family come to terms with Kitt’s illness.
“Having Angie there as an adult who Rory can talk to, to trust with his thoughts and worries and just to have fun with, has made a big difference to him. It made him realise there are other people in similar situations and people that care and want to support us,” Saethryd said.
“This year has opened our eyes to the intense toll that serious childhood illnesses, like cancer, has on the whole family - emotionally and financially. The exhaustion, stress and the relentlessness of going through it cannot be underestimated and the simplest thing of having access to someone like Angie to support and help us who expects nothing in return, is invaluable.”
Emma Haines, Rainbow Trust’s Director of Marketing and Fundraising, said:
“Rainbow Trust’s annual carol concert is one of our most admired and popular events and this year was no exception. It was wonderful to see the Farleigh School Chapel Choir perform and hear readings from a family, our patrons and celebrity supporters.
“Our heartfelt thanks go out to everyone for supporting this event. Christmas can often be one of the hardest times of the year for the families we support. Everybody got into the festive spirit at the concert while fundraising for a fantastic cause, meaning our Family Support Workers can help those families have the best Christmas possible.”