Above and below: Carols amongst the trees... Hathern Band on Sunday.
A large crowd of people turned out to listen to the fabulous Hathern Band in the beautifully decorated setting of St Mary's Church, Melton Mowbray, on Sunday night (December 2nd) as part of a Carols of Praise amongst the Christmas Trees.
Perfect end to a perfect evening
The band always proves very popular and it is lovely to sit and listen to them playing, under the direction of Musical Director, David Newman, for a while after the service amongst all the impressive entries in the Christmas Tree Festival.
The service began with a reading of Richard Stilgoe's poem The Night before Christmas read by Melton Team Parish Rector, the Revd Kevin Ashby. If you haven't read it you can do so here.
The Hathern Band then added a bit of oomph to the carols While Shepherds watched their flocks by night, Once in Royal David's City and In the Bleak Midwinter before the Revd Ashby interviewed Diana Thompson, about her life and role of High Sheriff of Leicestershire.
Diana chose Hark! The Herald Angels Sing for the next carol to sing before the reading from Luke 2:1-20, which was given by the Revd Dr Mary Barr.
The Revd Ashby then told of how emotional the recent Remembrance Sunday Service had been with more than 900 people in church. This was followed by a video shown on the big screen and side screens of the song Christmas 1914 by Mike Harding which recalls the a series of widespread but unofficial ceasefires along the Western Front of World War One around Christmas 1914. If you haven't heard it you can listen to it by clicking here.
Letters from the trenches detailed the truce and were read by Andrew Nutter, Ian Neale and Brian Wray. This was followed with the carol Silent Night.
The Revd Ashby gave some details about where the collection made on the night would be going and illustrated his talk with pictures on the big screen of the places... the Bethlehem Rehabilitation Centre, which has been open since 1960 and caters and cares for anybody, and a church in Nazareth which needs to put in a lift and a car park. Both these places were visited by those on the recent trip to the Holy Land organised by the Revd Ashby.
The carol O Little Town of Bethlehem followed before prayers and a blessing and the final carol O Come All Ye Faithful.
The Hathern Band then played for a while as the audience sat and listened. The perfect end to a perfect evening amongst the Christmas trees.
The church was full on Sunday night.
Team Rector, the Revd Kevin Ashby at the service.
High Sheriff of Leicestershire, Diana Thompson.