THE SOUND of traditional Christmas carols rang out from St Andrew’s Church at Farnham’s Civic Christmas Carol Service on Wednesday, December 1.
The internationally-renowned Farnham Youth Choir performed a selection of Christmas music, while traditional readings from local dignitaries and representatives of the local community told the Christmas story.
The Mayor of Farnham, Councillor Alan Earwaker, warmly welcomed a congregation of hundreds of invited guests, all of whom had supported the local community during the year through volunteering and other valuable work.
They were joined by local residents who had been allocated tickets following a free ballot.
Addressing the congregation, the mayor said: "This occasion is one where we can say thank you to representatives of our wider community for the immense work undertaken by our charitable and community organisations throughout the year and also to our business community for keeping Farnham vibrant.
"Together we have sustained and will revive Farnham, despite the difficult times we face."
He continued his thanks to the community by highlighting the contribution of volunteers and workers who have supported the Covid vaccination programme at Farnham Hospital this year and presented a gift to Jo Michaelides on behalf of the community for the role she had played in the Covid response.
The choir of talented children and young people, expertly led by their new conductor and artistic director Patrick Barratt, sang a collection of specially arranged pieces while the congregation joined in well-loved carols such as Once in Royal David’s City, Hark the Herald Angels Sing and O Come all Ye Faithful.
The service was led by Rev David Uffindell, the Rector of Farnham, with readings from local representatives including Bridget Biddell, the Deputy Lieutenant of Surrey, Rodney Bates, the manager of Farnham Assist and Iona McCready, representing the Sea Cadets and young people of Farnham.
Erin Beesley also read a lesson, representing Farnham’s wider community organisation who supported the most vulnerable during Covid.
"While Christmas means different things to different people, most of us would recognise hope, love and compassion as key parts of the message of the Christmas story and it has been wonderful to celebrate those together in our civic service this year," added the mayor.
The congregation donated £585 to Waverley Abbey Trust and Farnham Assist, the mayor’s nominated charities.