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Moving and uplifting concerts in Gloucester and London

26th December 2023

A huge thank you to all of you who came along to our two Christmas concerts this year

London concert blog pic

“I hope we all find this Concert an uplifting experience which will strengthen our sense of community and the bonds of friendship that bind us together.”

We’d like to say a huge thank you to all of you who came along to our two Christmas concerts this year.

Hundreds of supporters, performers, volunteers and sponsors braved the winter weather to pack out our two venues – turning each concert into a very special and memorable occasion.

First up was our traditional curtain-raiser concert in the magnificent setting of Gloucester Cathedral, marking the start of the festive period.

The event, ably compered by BBC Radio Gloucestershire’s Dominic Cotter, saw memorable performances from the Highnam Primary Academy, Chalford Band and Rock Choir, all alongside some enthusiastic audience participation in the popular traditional carols.

We’re especially grateful to Jessica Vickery, who bravely spoke on the night about losing her husband Josh to meningitis for our Ribbon Appeal 2023. You can read more on the family’s story here.

Lit by candlelight

The highlight though, as always, was the sight of the Cathedral lit by candlelight as the congregation sang ‘Silent Night’, an annual tradition that honours the lives of loved ones lost to meningitis and whose names are remembered on white ribbons on our Remembrance Tree displayed in the Cathedral. No one who was there to experience this will ever forget it.

And that, in a nutshell, sums up what is special about these Christmas concerts – the way they are moving and uplifting in equal measure as they bring together the many branches of the Meningitis Now family.

Joined by Royalty

Then it was on to London, where we were delighted that our hard-working and wonderful Royal Patron HRH The Duchess of Edinburgh, was able to join us at our concert in St Paul’s Church in Covent Garden.

Writing in the programme notes Her Royal Highness said: “This concert is a wonderful opportunity to join with so many supporters and to hear your inspirational stories. I hope we all find this Concert an uplifting experience which will strengthen our sense of community and the bonds of friendship that bind us together.” It certainly was and we certainly did.

That was just one highlight among many from the evening. We also used the occasion to announce that TV presenter and fashion model Lisa Snowdon will be our new President, taking over from the TV News presenter Andrew Harvey.

We know that Lisa, who has been a patron with the charity since falling ill with meningitis in 2010, will be a brilliant President, bringing energy and enthusiasm to the role and we look forward to working closely with her to fight this disease in 2024 and beyond. Read more about her appointment here.

Engaging and entertaining performances

The concert also saw engaging and entertaining performances from Rock Choir and the classical and light music quartet Bowfiddle, alongside the opportunity to join in energetically with some traditional and popular carols.

But it is the poignant moments that will stick most in the mind. Moments like supporter Abi Hull bravely and movingly sharing her story of losing her baby boy Oli to meningitis and making clear what our support for those affected by this devastating disease is all about. Read their story here.

The best ever

Our chief executive, Tom Nutt, who spoke eloquently at the concerts, said: “For me it was the atmosphere that marked both these events as special. One supporter told me the Gloucester concert was ‘the best ever’ and I think this is right. London was a fabulous occasion, both glamorous and down-to-earth, moving and uplifting all at the same time.

“Together they brought together the wonderful cross-section of people that is the Meningitis Now family. It was a privilege as chief executive to be able to attend and speak at them.

“These events encapsulate what makes Meningitis Now such a vibrant and compassionate charity, bringing people together around a shared purpose and common bond.”

If you weren’t able to join us this year here are some images which capture the atmosphere of both events. Look out too for our film of the Gloucester Concert, coming soon.

If you’d like to donate to support our work you can do so here.

And we’ll be back at both venues in 2024, so please do join us then if you can.