Celebrating friendship and community at Christmas – Livability holds its Christmas Carol service – Livability

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Celebrating friendship and community at Christmas – Livability holds its Christmas Carol service

In time-honoured tradition Livability welcomed special guests, supporters and friends for its annual Christmas Carol Service held in the historic church of St Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square, London.

Pam Rhodes, Presenter of Songs of Praise was joined by fellow Vice-President the Reverend Canon Roger Royal for the festive celebration, alongside St Martin’s resident vicar Reverend Colin Midlane. The event celebrated the Christmas story. Under the theme of ‘Friendship Really Matters’, the event also explored the importance that good community connections play in growing well being and reducing isolation among the people Livability supports.

The Christmas Carol service was hosted by Pam Rhodes, Presenter of Songs of Praise

The Christmas Carol service was hosted by Pam Rhodes, Presenter of Songs of Praise

Traditional readings telling the Christmas story and the birth of Christ were read by special guests including impressionist Jon Culshaw – whose near-perfect impressions of politicians and celebrities had everyone roaring with laughter . Readings were also given by Neil Rees-Davies (Head teacher from Livability’s further education college Nash College),  Craig Philbrick (Livability Trustee), Corin Pilling (Livability’s Assistant Director of Public Engagement) and Gordon Gill (Head of Church Partnerships at Livability).

Readings by special guests included impressionist Jon Culshaw

Readings by special guests included impressionist Jon Culshaw

The evening featured a host of special performances: A Christmas favourite ‘Little Dummer Boy’ and a moving version of ‘Silent Night’ were sung by soloist soprano Mary Plazas while ‘Walking in the Air’, from Raymond Briggs’ ‘The Snowman’, was played by clarinettist David Wong. Solo carols were performed by Canticum Chamber Choir, led by conductor Mark Forgen, and the audience joined in with choice carols throughout the service.

'Walking in the Air' was played by clarinettist David Wong

‘Walking in the Air’ was played by clarinettist David Wong

One of the highlights of the evening was wonderful performance of John Lennon’s ‘So this is Christmas’ which framed Joni Mitchell’s classic ‘River’ song, by students from Nash College who had travelled from Bromley in Kent to take part.

Nash College students performed John Lennon’s ‘So this is Christmas’

Nash College students performed John Lennon’s ‘So this is Christmas’

As part of the service, CEO Dave Webber talked to Pam Rhodes about Livability’s Christmas campaign, Friendship Really Matters, which focuses on combating social isolation for those supported by Livability – especially relevant at this time of year, when many disabled people experience loneliness and feel shut out of their communities. Dave Webber then led Prayers and reflections, highlighting the essential role friends and supporters of Livability play in the charity’s vital work.

Solo carols were performed by Canticum Chamber Choir, led by conductor Mark Forgen

Solo carols were performed by Canticum Chamber Choir, led by conductor Mark Forgen

‘Loneliness is a challenge for many in our society and especially for those who face exclusion as a result of a disability,’ Dave Webber explained. ‘Inspired by our Christian faith and the Christmas story, and with the help our of staff, friends and supporters, Livability is determined to fight social isolation and help create more connected communities for the people we support.’

'Livability is determined to fight social isolation and help create more connected communities for the people we support’ - Dave Webber

‘Livability is determined to fight social isolation and help create more connected communities for the people we support’ – Dave Webber

The service concluded with a blessing by St Martin’s vicar Reverend Colin Midlane and a rousing rendition of ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing’ from the whole congregation.

Watch our film showing why friendship really matters to the people we support

See pictures from last night’s carol service

Parallel Facebook gallery

Livability would like to thank everyone who joined us at our annual Christmas Carol service. Make sure you see all the photos from the day on our Facebook page.

Can you help connect people this Christmas?

Our work to help connect people with their community is only possible thanks to the friendship of our supporters. This Christmas, your support could help with:

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Supporting people recover from mental health illness by taking part in Flourish – our horticultural therapy programme at Livability’s wellbeing centre.[/column][column type=”1/3″] ashley-place-tag
Enabling disabled people express their creativity and build friendships through art classes and community programmes.[/column] [column type=”1/3″ last=”true”] enterprise-agency-tag
Coaching people facing barriers to employment in setting up their own business.[/column][/cs_section][gap size=”20px”][x_button size=”large” block=”true” circle=”false” href=”http://www.everydayhero.co.uk/event/friendshipreallymatters” title=”” target=”_blank” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” info_content=””]Visit our donation area for more information [x_icon type=”arrow-right”][/x_button]

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