Stockton Heath’s splendid, grade two listed, St Thomas’s Church was once again host to Warrington’s annual Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. Brethren, families and friends were accompanied by the Cadishead Public Band and Peter Blease on the church’s organ.
Every pew was filled to hear the lessons read confidently by John Moore, Peter Lau, Ben Whitmore, Simon Ross, Adam Thompson, Alex Galloway, John Heritage, Paul Rigby and the Rev Michael Ridley. The choir, band and the church organ combined to give a resounding rendition of the carols – all established favourites – which the congregation joined in with gusto.
Two solo carols were performed: Nicola Leather gave ‘Still, Still, Still’, a traditional Austrian carol (in English) and David Knight performed ‘While Shepherds’ Watch’ – not to the tune most recognised but the traditional tune of Cranbrook, which most of us would know as the tune from ‘On Ilkley Moor Baht ‘at’.
Following the service, most of the congregation assembled in the adjacent Church Hall for refreshments of tea, coffee, sherry and mince pies.
Warrington Group Chairman Andy Barton thanked Rev Michael Ridley for the splendid service, the band, choir, readers, soloists and Peter Blease for his organ playing and organisation. Thanks also went to the Masonic hall staff for their service and Dave Anderson for organising the Grand Christmas Draw, which raised £1145.
After the draw, the evening ended with a final word from Andy, wishing everyone a Happy Christmas and New Year.
Article was written by Eric Miller