Hundreds packed Preston’s St John’s Minster yesterday evening for the annual Evening Post Carols by Candlelight service.
The Minster, on Church Street, was lifted with voices as the Company of Voyces kicked off proceedings under the light of candles with Once in Royal David’s City.
Ben Hurley, from St John’s Broughton Choir, performed a solo before the congregation joined in to fill the church with festive song.
The evening was led by vicar of Preston, Fr Timothy Lipscomb, and there were a series of bible readings from Rev Tim Keightley, director of the Foxton Centre, Denise Sherwin, the Evening Post’s North West enterprise manager, and head of content Blaise Tapp.
Preston Community Choir sang with the church through traditional carols and favourites including O Little Town of Bethlehem, Good King Wenceslas, and Away in a Manger.
Youngsters from Lea Endowed Primary School Choir then filled the crowds with festive cheer as they performed a rendition of Love Shone Down.
It was the highlight of the evening for great-grandmother Eleanor Power, 90, from Ingol.
She said: “I have been coming to this church for 20 years and I haven’t been so well lately, but I wouldn’t have missed this for the world.
“The children did a wonderful job and certainly lifted everyone. The schools do a good job every year, but this is the best I have seen them yet.”
The Guild Mayor of Preston, Coun Carl Crompton, gave his thanks to crowds and said the evening was a fitting way to welcome festivities during an important year for Preston.
The lights were once again lowered as the Company of Voices led a procession out of the church as they sang Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.
Fr Timothy Lipscomb, who led the service, said: “The community choir is a new one and they did a wonderful job and we are, of course, always lucky to have the Company of Voyces with us.
“Everyone was in good spirits and the Lea School Choir had to be the highlight, they were absolute bliss.
“They said the Lord’s Prayer with such conviction and even helped me lead it.
“This event is, for some people, the only experience they get of church at Christmas, so it was wonderful to have such a good turnout.
“We hope this continues for many more years to come.”
Evening Post head of content Blaise Tapp said: “It was a fantastic service and it is always great to see the Minster so full.
“The Evening Post is proud to be involved in such a fantastic occasion.”