I suppose I’m left wondering; does it get much more magical than Westminster Cathedral at Christmas? Choirs, cloisters and poets’ ghosts make for the breathtaking backdrop to the ever-popular Christmas carol services in one of the greatest cathedrals in Britain. Last week on Wednesday evening, people from across the capital gathered to celebrate the story of Christmas with music led by The Victoria Consort and the Victoria Choir set alongside well-known seasonal readings and a special reading.
It was an evening to celebrate the story and spirit of the Christmas period in our capital, and also one with a cause with all proceeds being given to the invaluable work of The Cardinal Hume Centre. The organisation enables people to gain the skills they need to overcome poverty and homelessness, working with homeless young people, badly housed families and others in need.
The evening commenced with Once in Royal David’s City. All standing, the voices of Londoners from all around roared throughout the building and the Christmas spirit was truly among us. And then, a series of surprise guest readers. First up, Made in Chelsea’s Ollie Locke stepped up to centre stage to read How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel, followed by Christmas by John Betjeman, read by Chizzy Akudolu. A series of carols go by; God rest you merry and Silent Night. And then, the most infectious voice of the evening entire. That of the inimitable Cerys Matthews MBE. Her voice with a wicked welsh twang echoed throughout the cathedral. She began to read A Visit from St. Nicholas, by Clement Clarke Moore. Cerys made her name as the founding member of Welsh rock band, Catatonia in 1992 and soared to fame as an author and broadcaster during the “Cool Cymru” movement during the late 1990s. And truly, it doesn’t get much more magical than the spirit of Westminster Cathedral during our Christmas period. To add to this, the success of the evening itself was estimated to have raised somewhere in the region of £14,000 for The Cardinal Hume Centre.
In the one of the grandest buildings of all in Central London, the spirit of the season spread throughout the long chamber of the chapel. The acoustics, only matched perhaps by the neighbouring Westminster Abbey, roared in the spirit of Christmas and the worthy cause; The Cardinal Hume Centre.