Spreading Christmas cheer
Friday 24 December 2010
Mencap kick-started the festive season with candlelit carol concerts across the UK
In December, Mencap held six Carols by Candlelight concerts to celebrate the festive season and raise money for people with a learning disability.
In London, many guests turned out to fill the Priory Church of
St Bartholomew the Great in Smithfield. Proceedings were opened by Mencap president Lord Rix, who introduced a packed programme of carols, traditional Christmas songs from the English Baroque Choir and readings by celebrity guests and Mencap staff. Singer and Mencap ambassador Will Young read the humorous ‘The Nativity Play'
by Joyce Grenfell. There were also readings from author Penny Vincenzi, journalist Penny Junor and actor Edward Fox.
The Carols by Candlelight service at Mill Hill Chapel (pictured), in the heart of Leeds, attracted over 100 people. Much of the service was led by people with a learning disability. Mark Wallis, who works for Mencap, played the keyboard, and there were readings from Kieran Kilvington of Leeds Mencap, Susan Hanley from Leeds Learning Disability Partnership Board and Mencap volunteer Alethea Manahan. Plus, there was a performance by Good in Parts, a community choir from Leeds.
In Wales, over 80 people joined Mencap Cymru members for the carol service at St John's Church in Cardiff. Rev John Gillibrand, an Anglican priest from Carmarthenshire, led the service. His son Adam has a learning disability and he has been a campaigner for the rights of people with a learning disability for about 20 years.
All the money raised at all six events will go to Mencap to help provide life changing opportunities for people with a learning disability.