The Henley churches and schools came together and packed out Henley Town Hall on Wednesday night for Carols With a Heart for Henley.
Choirs from Badgemore, Valley Road, Sacred Heart and Trinity Schools filled the stage and the front of the hall and there was only standing room left in the rest of the Queen Elizabeth II hall.
The carols opened with Mae Reineke singing a beautiful solo for the first verse of Once in Royal David City and the service included Away in a Manager, O Little Town of Bethlehem and Hark The Herald Angels Sing.
Dr. Krish Kandiah asked the question in his talk ‘Can Hospitality Change the World?’ Krish is Founding Director of Home for Good, a charity seeking to make a real difference in the lives of vulnerable children through fostering and adoption.
Father John Chadwick talked about the Margaret Clitherow Trust which is a charity that serves Traveller communities in the South of England and the South of Wales. They currently serve 45 communities through programmes targeted around pastoral care, mental health, advocacy, health, social wellbeing and education.
Pizza Express and Zizzis in Henley kindly provided free pizzas for all of the 135 children in the choirs. £700 was raised through donations at the Living Advent Calendar earlier in the evening at Shaun Dickens and an offering during the service for Margaret Clitherow Trust and Home for Good charity.
Maggie Atkinson one of the organisers said, “I was blown away. The inspiration of those 135 children singing so beautifully, together with the inspiration of the speakers was thrilling and hearing examples of the difference it’s possible to make to children’s lives is incredible. Huge thanks to Laura Reineke from Henley Music School for the fabulous quality of singing and musical accompaniment. Ed and I were so encouraged by all those keen to chat afterwards wanting to hear more about fostering or adoption.”
Laura Reineke, Founder of Henley Music School said, “When Maggie asked me if I’d help her with some music for the annual Christmas service, I’m afraid I went a bit bonkers and asked all the lovely choirs from Badgemore, Valley Road, Sacred Heart and Trinity if they’d like to join a massed choir for the event, and they all said yes! So along with Henley Music School jazz band they all performed brilliantly and completely outshone themselves! In the end we had over 135 children, and thanks to all the hard work of the teachers they had a great time. I am looking forward to more events in the future involving everyone – it was great!”