VIP guests including the Devon High Sheriff Angela Gilbert and Philip Jenkinson, Deputy Lord Lieutenant attended a carol service in Sidmouth hosted by East Devon Chairman Councillor Stuart Hughes

Sidmouth Town Band and Sidmouth Primary School Choir give ringing performances at East Devon’s Chairman’s inaugural Civic Christmas carol service

Over 100 Devon and East Devon dignitaries and guests attended East Devon District Council’s first ever Chairman’s Civic Christmas carol service, which took place on Sunday 11 December 2016 at 2.30pm at the Sidmouth Parish Church of St Giles and St Nicholas.

VIP guests included the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Devon, Philip Jenkinson, Devon High Sheriff, Angela Gilbert , East Devon MP Neil Parish (who attended the afternoon tea, but not the service) and Sidmouth Town Council Chairman, Councillor Jeff Turner.

The hour long service, which was led by The Reverend Canon Dr Philip Bourne, featured music by the distinguished Sidmouth Town Band (directed by Adrian Harvey), and uplifting choral renditions of Away in a manger, First Christmas day and Holly and mistletoe, sung by children from Sidmouth Primary School.

The congregation sang a selection of familiar carols, chosen by the local community at the request of Councillor Stuart Hughes, the Chairman of East Devon District Carol. The most popular requests were:  Ding Dong! Merrily on high, Little Donkey, Little Donkey, Oh little town of Bethlehem, Once in royal David’s city and In the bleak midwinter.

Readings were made by:

  • Mark Williams, Chief Executive of East Devon District Council – The Gospel of Luke, chapter 1, verses 26-38, The birth of Jesus is foretold
  • Councillor Helen Parr, Vice Chairman of East Devon District Council - The Gospel of Luke, chapter 2, verses 1–7, The birth of Jesus
  • Councillor Andrew Moulding, Chairman of Devon County Council - The Gospel of John, chapter 1, verses 1-14, The incarnation of God – Jesus, the Word of God

The congregation gave generously to the service collection, which raised £301.82 for Sidmouth Town Band.

Following the service, Councillor Hughes invited his guests to join him at Kennaway House where they enjoyed a delicious afternoon tea.

Commenting on the carol service and tea, Councillor Hughes said:

I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who helped organise this carol service, especially Maria Pearce from East Devon District Council, and another thank you to all my guests for coming and helping make this event so special. Everyone was on tremendous vocal form and the energetic singing nearly lifted the roof off this lovely parish church.

The children from Sidmouth Primary sang like angels and Sidmouth Town Band entertained us with their usual top notch playing. Sidmouth is truly blessed to have such musical talent and I am delighted that we were able to raise such a good sum of money for the band. I think it is fair to say that this joyful occasion, which I hope will be the first of many civic carol services to be held by future chairmen of the council, has put everyone well on course for Christmas and it just remains for me to wish all of East Devon a very merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous new year.