We had a great evening last Monday at our annual Christmas Carol party. The relatively mild weather led to a strong turnout and no doubt even more were encouraged to drop in when the Salvation Army Band struck up at 6:45. A crowd of at least fifty enjoyed the mince pies and excellent mulled wine.
Our carol singing efforts, somewhat paltry in previous years, were lifted by the presence of a dozen or more soldiers from the Blues and Royals stationed at Hyde Park Barracks. All our thanks go to Captain Alex Owen and his men without whom the Salvation Army Band might have been on their own, musically speaking. All they asked in return was a little mulled wine to keep away the cold.
The mulled wine was cheerfully served by Michas and was fashioned from his secret recipe. Michas watch out! there will be many who want to know how you make it so tasty.
Jane and Neil had earlier set out the oil lamps and candles although the near-full moon rendered them useful more for atmosphere than light.
The whole event was in aid of charity and a stunning £2500 was collected in cash and cheques. 40% of the money taken on the night went to the Household Cavalry Operational Casualties Fund (HCOCF) and 60% to the homeless via the Salvation Army. If people gave cheques then those went straight to the relevant fund. The final breakdown was £1,600 to the Salvation Army and £900 to HCOCF.
Since 1865 the Salvation Army has been one of the biggest providers of service to the homeless community in the UK. They have a variety of programmes including soup runs, breakfast clubs, evening support groups (emotional, spiritual and physical), provision of food and clothing, bath and shower facilities, advice and referral. Staff and volunteers build trust with the people using these services, which enable the Salvation Army to help them address the issues surrounding homelessness.
The Household Cavalry Operational Casualties Fund (HCOCF) aims to help provide
financial support to injured soldiers and their families, including those who have lost
their lives on active service. The fund focusses on the Recovery, Rehabilitation and Re-Integration of injured personnel. It also provides support to the soldier and his or her family and dependants during recovery or after bereavement.