The people of the Horsham District and beyond came together to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas at a carol service with a difference.
Held at Horsham’s parish church of St Mary, the worship was tailored to the rich Christian heritage of Sussex.
The Sussex Carol, poems by Sussex authors with subjects relevant to the locality - such as Eddi’s Service by Rudyard Kipling - and a prayer by a former Bishop of Chichester, were cleverly interwoven.
The Horsham District Community Carol Service also featured readers and invited civic representatives from across the Sussex community.
Chairman of HDC Philip Circus, who with the support of his wife Gaenor had brought back this great piece of civic worship, welcomed the congregation as did the Rev Canon Guy Bridgewater, the Vicar of Horsham.
Readers included the High Sheriff of West Sussex Patrick Burgess MBE, the Chairman of West Sussex County Council Mrs Amanda Jupp, Horsham’s Neighbourhood Policing Team Inspector Clare McKnight, a member of the Horsham Youth Council Lauren Green, Community Youth Worker Helen Sare, and Editor In Chief of the County Times group and its sister Sussex newspapers Gary Shipton.
Horsham District Council was well-represented at the service by among others Leader Ray Dawe and his wife, Deputy Leader Helena Croft, Vice Chairman Christian Mitchell, and Chief Executive Tom Crowley. Independent councillor George Cockman had helped prepare the service ensuring its relevance to the Sussex theme and members of the Lib Dems were also present in good numbers.
Thanks were given to Val Burgess and her team for providing refreshments afterwards and a collection was taken for The Chairman’s Trust which seeks to support those in need in the Horsham District who might not otherwise receive help.