St Mary’s Carol Service

Lanterns lined the path from the gate of St Mary’s on 12 December to make a festive entrance to the second annual Carols and Christmas Readings event and by 4 o’clock nearly 60 people filled the church.

Hearty singing of well-known carols must have raised the roof an inch or two – fortunately it seemed to settle back intact! And carols we were interspersed with some well-chosen readings on Christmassy themes delivered with style and panache by Simon and Hilary Powell, Malcolm Wright, Edward and Emily Betts, Paul Batho, and John and Jess Haworth. Congratulations to Jess for being both the creator and master of ceremonies and to Jessie and helpers for producing about 100 mince pies and some very fine mulled wine, which proved to be an excellent balm after the singing!

So we look forward to 2016 and some dates for future events. On Good Friday (25 March) we will be organising a walk, probably starting at East Ilsey and heading back across the downs to finish with tea and hot cross buns in St Mary’s. Then in June we hope to have a well-known speaker to entertain us – date to be finalised, and in the meantime if anyone has suggestions for a possible presenter, please contact Paul on 851251. We’ll have another event in the village hall on Saturday, 8 October – maybe another quiz, though there’s talk of a Bake – Off…….keep the date free!

On the practical front, the contributions of Friends have met the cost of some essential electrical safety works in the church recently, now all successfully completed. And we are working on a project to improve the vestry with some much-needed catering facilities. More of this later, as well as an update on the longer-term proposals for installing a toilet in the church.

In the meantime, we wish all Friends of St Mary’s and indeed all Uptonians, a very happy Christmas.