19.12.18 Lesley Upham, John Pearl

In fine voice at Garlickhythe

Coachmakers and their guests gathered at St James Garlickhythe on 13th December for the Livery’s Carol Service. This beautiful church, known as Wren’s Lantern, has seen many such services since it was re-opened in December 1682, after the Great Fire of London.

Before the service Coachmakers placed Christmas presents under the tree to be distributed to underprivileged children by the Salvation Army.

The service was conducted by The Venerable Ray Pentland and a series of seven lessons telling the Christmas story were read by the Wardens, with the Master reading Christmas by Sir John Betjeman.

We were very lucky to have the St James Choir and organist Paul Gobey to provide such wonderful musical accompaniment, with choral pieces sung throughout the service. The full Livery congregation and the choir joined together to sing many favourite carols including Once in Royal David’s City, in the Bleak Mid-Winter, Silent Night and ended with a rousing rendition of Hark the Herald Angels Sing to send us on our way to supper.

Enjoying a convivial evening

After the service the congregation took the short path to the familiar and welcoming surroundings of Tallow Chandlers Hall. Here we enjoyed mulled wine – particularly welcome after the very cold walk from the church.

A delicious meal of lamb and apple tarte tatin, accompanied by a generous supply of fine wine was enjoyed by all. This was followed by coffee and mince pies with port. By this stage there was a palpable feeling of wellbeing and everyone was in good voice for the singing to come.

A very welcome addition this year was a Christmas song sheet arranged by the Clerk to complement the traditional carols. There was lusty singing of Mary’s boy child, Santa Claus is coming to town and “Rocking around the Christmas tree. However, it was felt that All I want for Christmas is you needed more rehearsal which no doubt will take place before next year.

The Coachmakers’ 100 Club Super Draw took place at the end of the evening and the winner of the first prize of £1,600 was the Master. The second prize of £800 was won by Past Mistress Vivienne Davis. A raffle was held which raised extra funds for the Charity Trust Account.

The 100 Club draw

A highlight of the evening was the presentation by the Master of a cheque for £1,500 to Tom Castle, recently appointed the first Coachmaker Apprentice in the craft of coachmaking. Tom works for Fairbourne Carriages and is one of three Coachmaker Apprentices across our three specialist interests: aerospace, automotive and coachmaking. It is hoped that these young people will, when qualified, move on to become Craft Freemen with the possibility of that they might then become Liverymen.

Master presents award to Tom Castle

The Master presents the award to Tom Castle


The Master terminated the very enjoyable evening by thanking everyone for coming and wishing them a very happy Christmas.