Leeds carol service is lit up by festive generosity

PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
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TIMES may be tough for some in Leeds but that hasn’t stopped the city showing its caring side during the run-up to Christmas.

An estimated 600 people flocked to Leeds Minster for the annual Yorkshire Evening Post carol service on Thursday evening.

And the men, women and children who made their way to the event didn’t arrive empty handed – far from it.

They brought hundreds of lovingly-wrapped presents that were placed under the church’s Christmas tree during one of the service’s many moving moments.

Those gifts are now being distributed to three good causes in Leeds to try to ensure needy youngsters get the festive season they deserve. The beneficiaries are the children’s wards at Leeds General Infirmary, Radio Aire’s Cash For Kids Mission Christmas toy appeal and a volunteer who works with deserving families in the city.

A collection also raised more than £1,400 – money that will be split between Leeds Minster and the YEP’s Half and Half Appeal.

Praising the community spirit shown by the service-goers, YEP editorial director Jeremy Clifford said: “Watching the hundreds of people queuing at the Christmas tree to donate their presents was humbling to see and a reminder of just how generous our readers are.”

Thursday’s service was led by the Rev Canon Charles Dobbin, interim priest at Leeds Minster, formerly Leeds Parish Church.

Music was performed by the Yorkshire Evening Post Brass ensemble, conducted by Dr Simon Lindley.

Hymns sung included O Come, All Ye Faithful, Once in Royal David’s City and Away in a Manger.

There was also a reading from Duncan Wood, presenter of ITV’s Calendar programme.

Regular attendees of the service said it had attracted one of its largest congregations for a number of years.

l Leeds Minster is also playing host to a carol concert next Wednesday evening, December 10. Proceeds will support the work of the minster’s Choral Foundation.