Canterbury’s Christmas Eve carol concert is on!

There was a huge danger that it was going to be a Silent Night in Canterbury’s Rose Square on Christmas Eve.

But thanks to the city coming together to support The Lord Mayor of Canterbury’s Christmas Gift Fund, a small independent charity staffed by a band of dedicated volunteers, it is now O Come, All Ye Faithful as the carol concert is back on at 6.15pm on Sunday 24 December.

The annual event, which first started in 1952 and has become a real tradition (pictured above in 2021), will feature a Christmas address from the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby from an open top double decker bus, Christmas greetings from the Lord Mayor of Canterbury Cllr Jean Butcher, and festive music from the Canterbury Salvation Army and the St Stephen’s Church choir.

The Lord Mayor said: “The Christmas Eve carol concert is one of the highlights of the Lord Mayor’s year and I have been really looking forward to doing my bit this year.

“I have to confess to a hint of sadness when I heard the concert may not go ahead but now I am smiling from ear to ear and cannot wait to see everyone come together and hear them in full voice.”

The money raised at the carol concert is used to buy much-needed Christmas food and gifts for deprived families and the elderly in Canterbury.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Alan Baldock, said: “No one encapsulates the Christmas spirit more than the small band of volunteers that work tirelessly to raise money for those in the district who need our help.

“They spend countless hours of their own time dedicated to others so when we heard they might need a small hand from us, it was the least we could do to strain every sinew to make that happen.

“I am so pleased that effort has paid off.”

Canterbury City Council stepped in to support the charity, which is independent of the council and the Lord Mayor’s office, by taking on overall responsibility for the safety of the event because of its expertise in event planning.

It also increased its own public liability insurance to cover the event and its insurer Zurich waived its additional premium.

The team at Whitefriars agreed to step in to pay for extra security staff to supplement its own team and help with stewarding the crowds and ensuring everyone has a great time.

And the Canterbury Business Improvement District has agreed to provide extra marketing support for the event.

Cabinet member for community, culture, safety and engagement, Cllr Connie Nolan, said: “To see how sad everyone was at the news the carol concert may not be on and then see everyone come together to make it happen has been really heartening and is the district at its very best.

“We owe so much to a group of volunteers whose good work so often goes under the radar that I am glad we can do just a little to start to pay our debt of gratitude.”

Tony Laughran, speaking on behalf of the Lord Mayor of Canterbury’s Christmas Gift Fund, said the committee was pleased that following detailed discussions with the city council, the event was proceeding.

He added: “We have distributed more than 250 food and toy vouchers to those in need in our city. If you can support us, details of how to donate are below.”

You can donate to The Lord Mayor of Canterbury’s Christmas Gift Fund on the night or by text message to 70460:

  • To donate £3 – text FUND 3
  • To donate £5 – text FUND 5
  • To donate £10 – text FUND 10
  • To donate £15 – text FUND 15
  • To donate £20 – text FUND 20

Texts cost the donation amount plus one standard rate message. The option to Gift Aid the donation will be offered in the response message. You can also donate by cheque, cash or bank transfer.

Cheques payable to the Lord Mayor of Canterbury’s Christmas Gift Fund can be sent to:

The Lord Mayor of Canterbury’s Christmas Gift Fund
Registered Office
Robert Brett House
Milton Manor Farm
Ashford Road

If you wish to make direct payment from your bank – please use the following details:

  • Account Name: Lord Mayor of Canterbury’s Christmas Gift Fund
  • Sort Code: 309160 Account No: 03328508
  • Ref: Donation

If you are a UK taxpayer, please consider signing a Gift Aid declaration form. This can be downloaded from the charity’s website.

Published: 13 December 2023

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