The annual Preston Group Family Carol Service, held at Christ Church in Fulwood Preston, was again well attended by local Masons and their families. To add to the occasion, the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison was in attendance with his wife Maureen.
Tony and Maureen were accompanied by Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Winder and his wife Sue, and Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals Ian Cuerden and his wife Doreen. The music was provided by the church organist Margot Berry, The Continental Brass Ensemble and the Preston Group Masonic Choir under the leadership of Malcolm Berry.
Before the start of the service, the congregation was entertained by Christmas music and carols from the ensemble ensuring that everyone was relaxed and ready to add their voices to the proceedings.
The carol service commenced with ‘Once in Royal David’s City’, with Miss Sally Shaw singing the first verse solo. The congregation joined in the following verses as the choir processed down the church to take their place in the choir stalls.
Brethren and their guests were welcomed by the Reverend Graham Halsall, who later gave a thoughtful and well received Christmas address.
The congregation joined in heartily with the traditional well-known Christmas carols accompanied by the ensemble with voices and music resounding through the church. The first two readings were given by Mike Threlfall and Judith Rimmer respectively.
The proceedings were further enhanced by the ensemble playing arrangements of a medley of Christmas tunes at various points through the service. The first medley was entitled, ‘Christmas Celebration’, the second, ‘Halleluiah’, the third ‘Rejoice’ and the fourth, ‘Christmas Jazz Suite’.
Following the third reading, given by the Reverend Graham Halsall, Miss Sally Shaw gave a well-received solo rendition of ‘In the Bleak Midwinter’.
Before the final carol, the group chairman Steve Bolton, rose to thank everyone for their attendance He particularly thanked the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison and Maureen, David and Sue Winder and Ian and Doreen Cuerden for their support. He was pleased to see Peter Hosker in attendance, this despite his protracted medical issues. He continued his thanks with those to Malcolm Berry for his organisation of the choir, the readers and all those who had a part to play in the proceedings. Thanks went to the Reverend Halsall for his agreement to lead the service and the church wardens for their kind permission for the use of the church.
The service concluded with the choir retiring to the rear of the church singing ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’. The Continental Brass Ensemble treated the attendees to a rendition of ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’ as they retired from the church. Following the service, refreshments were again available in the church hall.