Candlelight and festive spirit filled a church last night for the Lancashire Evening Post’s annual carol service.
More than 200 people attended St John’s Minster, on Church Street, Preston, for Carols By Candlelight, including the Mayor of Preston, Coun Margaret McManus.
Extra seats had to be found as the Minster was packed out.
The service opened with hymn Once In Royal David’s City, which was started by soloist Thomas Whalley, from Broughton Parish Church’s choir, before the congregation joined in.
There was then a welcome and opening prayer by the Vicar of Preston, Father Timothy Lipscomb, who led the service.
Several carols were sung during the service, including Good King Wenceslas, While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks and In the Bleak Midwinter.
“The carol service is a wonderful event which helps everyone to remember the true meaning of Christmas.”Gillian Parkinson
There were performances by choir Company Of Voyces and Louisa Stirland, who is former BBC Young Chorister of the Year and now a scholar of the Royal Academy.
The organist for the carol service was David Scott-Thomas.
The service included a number of traditional readings, telling the story of Christ’s birth in Bethlehem.
Among those giving readings were the Lancashire Evening Post’s editor Gillian Parkinson and deputy news editor Emma Pearson, as well as Tim Joel, events and cultural services manager at Preston City Council.
Mrs Parkinson said: “The carol service is a wonderful event which helps everyone to remember the true meaning of Christmas.”
Father Timothy said: “It was an opportunity for communities and people to come together to celebrate the birth of Christ, which happened on Christmas Day.
“I think people live rather separate lives these days so it’s good that communities come together and people from all walks of life can meet in a safe place, in God’s house, to have a good sing, to listen to some beautiful carols and experience something you can’t buy.
“It’s something really special and out of this world.”
A collection was held to raise money for The Children’s Society, a charity supporting vulnerable children.
Afterwards, tea, coffee and mince pies, provided by Preston’s Poundbakery, were served for members of the congregation.