A community carol concert held at the Coventry chapel on Sunday 2nd December 2018 celebrated Christmas and remembered the sacrifice of Coventry’s young men in the Great War.
The well-attended event saw the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Coventry, Councillor John Blundell and his wife, Mr Jim Cunningham MP, Mr Geoff Lockett, President of Rotary Phoenix, along with several other members of the Rotary club, as well as Ms Jenny Robey from the Royal British Legion, join 300 Church members in this celebration.
Attendees were invited to bring gifts for children in Coventry and, working with Carriers of Hope; the gifts would be distributed before Christmas Day by the Rotary Phoenix club. They were destined for children who otherwise would have very little or nothing at all at Christmas.
Sue Sampson of Carriers of Hope said, “Thank you for the huge pile of gifts! ... This year we are aiming to distribute close to 1,000 presents to everyone in the families that come to our Great Present Give-Away on Saturday 22nd December. Our families are all asylum seekers, refugees and European Union Roma migrants. It is wonderful when we are able to bring smiles to their sad faces.
“Last week we had to make a new appeal as we had run out of presents … and then, along came your gifts. It was such an encouragement.
“A huge thank you to all the contributors. The Latter-Day Saints are becoming one of our most faithful and regular supporting churches.”
Talks were given by the Lord Mayor, Jim Cunningham MP, Geoff Lockett from Rotary Phoenix and Jenny Robey from the Royal British Legion, Jonathan Maxwell, who serves in the Church as the Coventry Stake President.
Each made touching references to the Christmas season being a time to reach out to neighbours and strangers alike to make sure that all are cared for at this time.
Additionally, carols were sung by the congregation, nativity scriptures from the New Testament were read and choirs from five neighbouring areas sung a wide range of Christmas songs.
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One, part of the concert was given over to eight youth, aged 12-18, who each had researched the name and details of a young Coventry man who had died fighting in that terrible conflict. With a trio of violinists and cellists playing ‘I Vow to Thee My Country’ in the background, each of the youth read the details they had researched. One of the soldiers was Edwin Russell Elks, who lived in Walsgrave Road in Coventry. Edwin had lied about his age to join-up. He died aged only 15 years old. He is believed to be Coventry’s youngest casualty of the Great War.