22.12.17 John Kendall

Coachmakers Christmas Service


Immediate Past Master Martin Payne was on hand to record the recent Coachmakers Christmas Service at St James Garlickhythe on 14th December. You can see it here.

Martin Payne writes: On 14th December at 6.00pm, the Coachmakers traditional Christmas Carol Service took place at St James Garlickhythe, London.  It was the usual fayre of lessons and carols accompanied by the professional choir directed by Alderman Dr. Andrew Parmley.  There were seven lessons read by the Clerk, Wardens and the Venerable Ray Pentland.  Ray Pentland gave a brief account of the Great War describing the dreadful conditions in the trenches; a prelude to the first verse of the carol ‘Silent Night’ which was sung in German in recognition of the sacrifice endured on both sides of the conflict.

During the service, gifts for underprivileged children were laid by the tree.  Much has been written about this Wren Church but how many are familiar with the link between Dr. Andrew Parmley and the Whitechapel Bell Foundry and the Coachmakers? The bells which were rung at the Master’s Election service were commissioned by Dr. Parmley in 2012 to commemorate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee.  The Bells were cast at the Whitechapel Foundry which the Coachmakers visited in 2014.  If you are interested in learning more about the St James’ Bells then please see the news story on the Coachmakers website.

Following a short walk from the church to Tallow Chandlers’ Hall we were welcomed by a glass of warm mulled wine not only to drive out the damp and cold but also to loosen our vocal chords for what was to follow.  In typical Tallow Chandlers’ fashion we all sat down to a delicious meal followed by the 100 Club draw.  First prize was £1,800 and second was £800; the recipients (neither of whom were at the Carol Service), hopefully enjoyed their respective Christmases and probably an extra glass of mulled wine.

Before we got stuck in to Away in a Manger and I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas (actually, I was not!), we were treated to a dramatic monologue from Jackson Pentland about Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Future.  Although we all knew the story and could probably give alternative  names to the characters in A Christmas Carol, the audience was spellbound as Jackson told the story of Scrooge, Tiny Tim and Bob Cratchit.  It all ended as expected and Scrooge turned out not to be that overbearing skinflint that Dickens portrayed him as.  Our congratulations to Jackson whose entertainment got us off to a flying start.

Dr Andrew Parmley played us out with the normal selection of Christmas songs and we departed for home hoping our Christmases would be merry and bright.

Regrettably, we were not able to record the carols sung during the service, so please forgive the omissions.