Hundreds raise cash and voices

FESTIVE cheer shone on the faces of hundreds of people at The Evening Star's sell-out annual carol service.Children from Sprites Primary School joined the Ipswich and Norwich Co-op Brass Band to perform an array of classic carols as the congregation entered St Margaret's Church.

FESTIVE cheer shone on the faces of hundreds of people at The Evening Star's sell-out annual carol service.

Children from Sprites Primary School joined the Ipswich and Norwich Co-op Brass Band to perform an array of classic carols as the congregation entered St Margaret's Church.

Young and old packed the pews to sing favourites O Come, All Ye Faithful, While Shepherds Watched and God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman.

They were accompanied by The Suffolk Deaf Association's Deaf People's choir led by Pearl Kerridge and joined by interpreter Douglas Gray.

The event raised hundreds of pounds for The Evening Star's Let Them Play appeal which aims to resurface the play area at Ipswich Hospital's children's wards.

In introducing the service, the Reverend Canon David Cutts, prayed for those in special need and illness, some of who will benefit directly from the funds raised.

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Individual members of staff from the hospital read all of the six seasonal readings - an Evening Star tribute to the dedicated teams at Heath Road. Chairman Christine Smart reading the opening reading, followed by chief executive Andrew Reed.

Trish Curtis, children's services manager, Kevin O Neill, clinical director for paediatrics, Sharon Potter, service improvement manager and Mary Sokanovic, nurse specialist in cancer services, all read between carols.

Last night's service and the generous donations of the congregation gave the £30,000 Let Them Play appeal a major boost and will improve the lives of hundreds of children undergoing hospital treatment.

The festivities ended with mince pies and a collection.

Evening Star Editor, Nigel Pickover, said: “This was a brilliant start to Christmas for us and for the packed congregation. We saluted the staff at Ipswich Hospital, who are doing wonders in a very difficult financial situation.

“It was a magical event, my tenth as editor of the Star, and I'd like to praise the superb organisation of the evening by our events team, led by Monica Meredith. For me it was the perfect start to Christmas.”

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