Volunteers and charity workers from Farnham’s many community organisations were thanked by the Mayor and local residents on Thursday (14 December) at the annual Civic Christmas Carol Service held at St Andrew’s Church, Farnham. “At Christmas time especially we are reminded of the importance of spreading peace and goodwill to all but, for our excellent local charities, community groups and their volunteers, this is something that they do tirelessly all year round without looking for thanks or recognition,” says Councillor Mike Hodge, the Mayor of Farnham.

“There is a tremendous community spirit in Farnham and this comes not least from the many volunteers who help make it a wonderful place to live and, particularly, who help those in need. It was great to have so many volunteers at the service; to be able to celebrate and thank them.”

The service included beautiful performances from Farnham Youth Choir and Bible readings from the Mayor, Iona McCready from Potters Gate School and representatives from Farnham Lions, the Farnham Herald and Farnham Town Council. The congregation also sang much-loved carols such as O Come All Ye Faithful, Hark the Herald and Once in Royal David City. St Andrew’s Church, parts of which date back to the Middle Ages, provided a spectacular setting and warm welcome.

Half of the congregation were representatives from Farnham’s voluntary groups, invited by the Mayor as a thank you on behalf of the town for their work. The remainder were residents who had entered a ballot for tickets to the service, managed by the Farnham Herald. All guests were invited to a reception with the Mayor before the service.

Following an opening performance of Ave Maria by the Farnham Youth Choir, the service began with Rev David Ufindell, the vicar of St Andrew’s, welcoming the congregation to his church. The Mayor thanked Sir Ray Tindle of the Farnham Herald for his sponsorship of the service and the newspaper’s support in managing the public ballot of tickets.

At the end of the service, a collection was held for the Mayor’s two charities: Brightwells Gostrey Centre and Woodlarks Centre. The Civic Christmas Carol Service has become a regular part of the civic calendar having begun five years ago.

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