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Minster hosts much-loved carol service as NHS celebrates 70 years

THE ANNUAL CAROL service for NHS staff from around the region was held this week (5 December), heralding the start of Christmas for the many who attended and to round off a remarkable year of 70th birthday celebrations.

For forty years, NHS staff, past and present, have gathered at York Minster each Christmas, taking time out from their busy duties to give thanks and rejoice.

A choir of over 200 local NHS staff rehearse at their separate locations in the weeks leading up to the service, only coming together on the day of the service to sing the programme of carols together for the first time.

The service was led by Revd Canon Michael Smith, York Minster, with prayers from The Most Reverend & Right Honourable Dr. John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, accompanied by the Revd Rachel Bailes, Senior Chaplain, York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.  The choir was conducted by Dr Andrew Padmore, supported by a brass quintet.

Dr Andrew Padmore said:  “I have conducted this service for 15 years and it is always a special event in my year.

“I conduct many choirs around this country and further afield, but with this choir of about 200 singers in the ambiance of a packed York Minster and a real feeling of Christmas spirit makes this a wonderful occasion.”

He added: “The choirs from the various regional hospitals come on the afternoon of the Service to sing the programme of carols together for the first time.  Doctors, nurses and other health professionals quickly have to be moulded into a choir, achieving a balanced and blended account of the fifteen carols in the two-hour rehearsal.  They work hard and achieve a very high standard of performance.”

Giving the readings this year were the Archbishop of York, Susan Symington, Chair of York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, and local nurse, Virginia Russell, who read a personal and moving testament to the NHS, reflecting on her time as a nurse over the years.

Archbishop Sentamu said: “We had a wonderful, joyous and uplifting time at the Minster celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ and all that brings for us in our lives today.

“My thanks go to all the staff who work in the NHS - your care and skills bring hope and comfort to many.  I am pleased that York Hospital Radio will be broadcasting the service so that those who find themselves in hospital can also experience something of the story, song and good news of Christmas - may God be with you at this Christmastime.”

Susan Symington, Chair, York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust added:  “This year the NHS has celebrated 70 years which has given us the perfect opportunity to celebrate the achievements of one of the nation’s most loved institutions, to appreciate the vital role the service plays in our lives, and to recognise the extraordinary NHS staff - the everyday heroes - who are there to support and care, day in, day out.

“The carol concert is a very special occasion and it means a lot to those who attend.  The combination of the spectacular setting of York Minster and the atmospheric singing of the choir really celebrates and honours those who work for the NHS.  For the many who will be working over the Christmas period, it kicks off the festive season in style.”

York Hospital Radio will broadcast a recording of the service on Sunday 23 December at 10.00am for anyone wishing to listen in full

07 December 2018

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