Leeds vicar's crowdfund bid for drive-in Christmas carol services in shop car park

Five Leeds churches have teamed up in a bid to stage two free drive-in carol services in a city shop car park this Christmas.

Thursday, 11th November 2021, 4:45 am
Updated Thursday, 11th November 2021, 7:17 am

A crowdfunding campaign has been lanched to raise the £3,000 needed to stage the services in the Dunelm car park at Wortley on December 19.

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There will be room for 120 cars at each service and Gogglebox star Rev Kate Bottley has recorded a reading to be played back at the events.

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Crowfund appeal to help fund drive-in Christmas carol services. Pictured (from left) outside Wortley and Farnley Church are Chris Balding, Rev Claire Corley, Rev June Cockburn and Wendy Gaunt. Photo: Simon Hulme

There will be live music as the service from a stage is projected onto a big screen in the car park.

Churches involved in organising the event are Wortly and Farnley, St Luke's Holbeck, Christ Church in Upper Armley, St Bartholomew's in Armley and St Mary's, Beeston.

Reverend Claire Corley, vicar of Wortley and Farnley, said similar events last year were a big success.

She said: "Two churches came together in the midst of Covid, to pull off two, novel and hugely successful drive-In carol services.

"Between us, St John's Church in Wortley and Farnley and St Lukes in Holbeck, persuaded Dunelm to let us use their car park for free.

"The Bishop of Leeds, Nick Baines, came to speak.

"The car park was filled and goody bags designed to keep children occupied alongside treats and tea lights were handed out by excited marshals.

"Using a professional sound company from grant funding, we projected onto huge screens that could be seen on the nearby ring road.

"We came together, laughing and singing, and we brought comfort and joy to families all across Leeds.

"With Covid restrictions, we had 70 cars at each service, over 400 people at the night, and livestreamed it to Facebook and YouTube where it picked up even more views.

"We received many rave reviews about the quality, organisation and atmosphere, and hopefully made a difference to people's Christmas and significantly lifted their spirits.

"We are still buzzing today.

"There is a strong desire from several churches to repeat it - but we know that the stakes are higher.

"Last year we persuaded Harry Gration, Amanda Harper, Gaynor Barnes and Rachel Reeves to do pre-recorded segments for us and were blessed by people in local radio and TV giving us advice and contacts.

"This year we have partnered with more churches. We are having live music and have secured Rev Kate Bottley to read for us and are working on many more celebs.

"However, the grant that we received for the sound and projection is no longer available, and without it, the drive-In carols will not work.

"We are keen to keep it free. We are faced with raising £3,000 to cover the expenses and so we have started a crowdfunding campaign.

"Any donations would be hugely appreciated, and can be made at www.tinyurl.com/leedsdriveincarols"

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