NEWSCarolsCandlelight2021(AndySillett&NCT)1 AndySillett

Carols by candlelight

The stars came out to celebrate the work of the National Churches Trust.


They were taking part in a special concert of Carols by Candlelight at St James, Piccadilly on Thursday 16 December.

Huw Edwards, journalist, presenter and BBC News lead presenter, and who is a Vice-President of the Trust hosted the concert.

Also featuring were Sir Michael Palin, comedian, actor and writer, and who is also a Vice-President of the Trust and actress Dame Penelope Wilton, who has recently appeared in the acclaimed Netflix series After Life.

The Carols by Candlelight concert was directed by John March and featured a wide range of Christmas music for voice, brass and a special performance by accomplished Argentine-Italian flautist Ianina Pietrantonio.

The concert had been due to take place before an audience, but with increasing safety concerns about the spread of the omicron COVID variant, was live streamed.

Helping churches stay open

The special on-line event marked the end of a year in which the National Churches Trust, the UK's church buildings support charity, awarded or recommended 273 grants totalling £3.67 million to help keep church buildings open and in good repair. The total includes £2 million from the Heritage Stimulus Fund, part of the Government's Cultural Recovery Fund.

Most recently a Christmas funding package is helping 47 churches across the UK with grants totalling £473,000.

Luke March, Chairman of the National Churches Trust said:

"We were delighted to have been able to hold our special Carols by Candlelight concert in the beautiful church of St James's Piccadilly. Many thanks to everyone who joined us via the internet to enjoy a superb concert of music and readings. Special thanks also to Huw Edwards, Sir Michael Palin and Dame Penelope Wilton, who generously gave their time to support us."

"This year has once again seen communities pull together, so often around their church building. In 2021 the National Churches Trust has worked tirelessly to support churches and chapels throughout the United Kingdom remain open, in good repair and at the heart of local communities. We are most grateful to our Friends, supporters and funders who enable us to carry out our work."

Generous support

The concert was generously supported by CCLA Investment Management who manage investments for charities, religious organisations and the public sector. The evening and the live-streaming was also made possible thanks to the support of DSAV Ltd who provide world-class products and AV solutions for churches.