Christmas Carol Service at St Martin-in-the-Fields 2018

The annual Christmas Carol Service at St Martin-in-the-Fields Church truly marked the countdown to Christmas. Supporters, special guests, performers and friends attended the annual service. Held this year, on the 11 December, at the beautiful church on the edge of Trafalgar Square, London.

Special guests

Pam Rhodes, from BBC songs of Praise and The Reverend Canon Roger Royle hosted the evening alongside St Martin’s resident vicar Reverend Colin Mildane.

The event celebrated the Christmas story and shared why community connections are so important at this time of year and beyond. Speakers focused on why our work is vital; ensuring that all the elements are in place that add up to a livable life and how this is the antidote to isolation.

Performances and readers

After intros from Pam and Roger, Russell Boulter kicked off the evening’s programme with some audience participation and a reading. Russ is an actor, documentary maker and communications coach – you may remember him from ITV’s The Bill, where he played John Boulton for five years.

The Canticum Chamber choir are a regular and much enjoyed fixture on Livability’s Christmas Carol service programme. Their atmospheric performance of Carol of the Bells and Shepherds Pipe Carol wowed the audience.

Mary Plazas and Daire Halpin (new to the programme for 2018), Sopranos, sung Ave Maria by Bach – Gounod. Their up-beat, Winter Wonderland was a hit.

David Swales, Livability supporter, shared his story of courage to revisit the place that caused a traumatic experience in his life. After suffering a stroke post a 10k race, David was able to run another 10k event a year on following the support of Livability Icanho, a specialist rehabilitation centre for adults with an acquired brain injury or stroke. Next year, David is taking on the London Marathon for Livability. We wish him all the best in his training ahead of next April.

We were lucky to welcome Classical reflection for 2018, who enchanted the crowds with their songs: Somewhere Over the Rainbow and Holy Night. 23 year old, classically trained identical twin sopranos Naomi and Hannah Moxon appeared on the BBC show ‘The Voice’. Roger Royle and Classical Reflection discussed all things musical, including singing for as long as they could walk and talk, and the gift of music.

The audience enjoyed a range of Christmas Carol classics including We Three Kings and Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.

Nathan Grady is a church leader at Kingsley Hall Community Church Dagenham, a part of the Livability family where he leads worship and teaches. Nathan read a poem titled Out of the Overflow, that he wrote. The message of community being at the heart of all we do, particularly at this time of year was shared by Nathan.

Livability’s journey

Pam Rhodes and Helen England, Livability CEO chat about Helen’s first Carol Service (and welcomed new Chair of Trustees Sally Chivers). Helen joined Livability in May and shares her passion and excitement to work for a charity with a rich history of supporting disabled and vulnerable people, citing founders Lord Shaftesbury and John Grooms – and looking forward to tackling barriers to make our society a fairer place where everyone can take part equally in the future.

Helen posed the importance the journey we are on together, against a context of difficult times in care, recognising the pressures austere times are putting on services which impact the people that need our support the most.

Open Door Choir and the Thursday Fellowship

Open Door Choir and Swindon Livability Fellowship Group raised the tempo with gospel renditions of Christmas classics. Open Door support adults with learning disabilities – one of the activities is the choir of 25. Members of the choir also enjoy the Swindon Livability Fellowship Group (The Thursday Fellowship) – including Anthony Dixon who delighted all with a solo performance of Believe. The Thursday Fellowship is for everyone, aiming to be inclusive to all via accessible worship and working with local churches demonstrating how to be an accessible church.

Finally, prayers and reflections from Helen and goodbyes and blessings from Reverend Colin Mildane. The evening closed with the audience singing favourite carol, O Come all ye Faithful.

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Livability’s carol service highlighted the challenges of social isolation and why connecting people with a supportive community is so vital. Watch this film to find out why


With thanks to Harry, Kai and Tilda – Ravensbourne University for photography