A magical Christmas atmosphere came to Leeds Minster last night as visitors were in full voice for the Yorkshire Evening Post’s traditional annual carol concert got under way.
Canon Sam Corley conducted the service while the church choir and YEP brass band provided festive tunes for ticket-holders.
People attending the service were invited to take along a small toy or gift, which will be distributed to sick and under-privileged children in Leeds.
More than 650 tickets were booked for the event, which was free, but attendees were asked for a contribution.
The proceeds will go to Leeds Minster and the Yorkshire Evening Post’s Half and Half Appeal, which is moving ever-closer to raising a £3m target for Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice and St Gemma’s Hospice.
Reverend Corley said: “People in Leeds are very generous and this service gives them the chance to give as well as receive.
“The service went really well and it was a great way to start the Christmas season.”
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Leeds Minster will be holding seven more Christmas services and the Reverend Corley expects to see over 8,000 people visit the church over the festive period.
During the service, the church was plunged into darkness before the huge Christmas tree, donated from Harewood Estate, was lit up to cheers from the guests.
Then guests were invited to place their donated gift under the tree.
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Warrant Officer Stead, leads the 168 Squadron City of Leeds air training corps, who helped to put the hundreds of presents under the tree.
He said: “Being a city of Leeds squad, we thought it would be nice to give back to the people of Leeds. It was wonderful way to give back this Christmas.”
Luke Dickinson, 14, Tingley, is a member of the squadron. The Woodkirk Academy student said: “We all feel very privileged to give to people less fortunate than us,
“There were loads of presents under the tree for them. I’ve made my Christmas list, but I doubt I’ll get as many.”
The carols included O Come, All Ye Faithful, Little Town of Bethlehem and We Three Kings.
ITV Yorkshire news anchor Duncan Wood read 'Light of The World' by Geoffrey Rust.
MP for Leeds West Rachel Reeves, YEP editor Hannah Thaxter and head of content Laura Collins gave the gospel readings.