The Swaffham Crier Online

Advent by Candlelight Raises 1008 pounds for local Charity

YOU may remember that, in November last year, Swaffham Prior hosted the annual "Advent by Candlelight", with choral music presented by Cambridge Voices, readings by members of the congregation, and mulled wine and minced pies provided by the village social committee. Elisabeth and Alistair Everitt did a superb job in providing the candlelight, and Hilary Sage organised the readers most efficiently. The concert was closely followed by a repeat performance in St Columba's Church, Cambridge. Despite numbers being slightly down at both events (doubtless due to the adverse weather conditions), together, we were able to give 1,008.70 to the local charity, EMMAUS. This is a remarkable achievement, and Emmaus have expressed their great unreserved thanks to all who attended and so helped to raise this magnificent amount. Indeed, they were somewhat astonished when I turned up at their offices early one morning with the money, mainly in coins, in a plastic bag from Tesco! Perhaps they were expecting a Waitrose bag, for that amount of money?!

I think the large amount of money (more than ever before) was partly due to the choir offering to give their services for free for both concerts, and even waiving all their expenses as they had sold so many of their new CD that they were launching at these very concerts (almost 400 CDs sold in one day!). Also, St Columba's Church allowed itself to be hired for free for this event this year.

For next year's "Advent by Candlelight" the theme will be "St Nicolas", whose feastday (November 6th) is always very close to the First Sunday in Advent. He is one of the patron saints of King's College Chapel, Cambridge, and the inspiration behind the myth of Santa Claus: Benjamin Britten wrote a, now oftperformed, cantata about the legends surrounding St Nicolas, and we will perform it in its entirety as part of our Advent concert, together with music associated with King's Chapel, so providing a rich feast of music both popular and flamboyant.

As for readings, I am always seeking new ideas and sources so, if anyone has something they would like to read (or have read on their behalf) during the concert, please let me know, the sooner the better, in fact. We will also invite someone who has benefited from Emmaus's care in the past to come and tell us, during the concert, something of the work that the charity does in our community: I know that their Landbeach base has greatly expanded this past year and is employing and housing many more people than ever before. And don't forget that, if you have any defunct electrical equipment that you want to be rid off, just pop it over to their community in Landbeach and they'll try and fix it and make use of it in some way.

Ian de Massini