On Saturday 07 December the Chepstow Rotary Club staged its annual Torchlight Carol Service at Tintern Abbey. This most popular family event is always well supported and this year almost 900 people attended. Thanks to posters, in-programme advertising, social media and flyers handed out on the High Street the Club enjoys much local support for this wonderful event that continues to grow.
From 5 o'clock families gathered in front of the Anchor Inn, Tintern with their flaming torches held on high to light their way, while the smaller members carried their glowing light-sticks. Then, at 6 o'clock they walked slowly in column around the outside of the Abbey while the wonderful singing of the combined choir of Wyedean and St John's-on-the-Hill schools radiated from within and added to the ambience on a crisp evening. It is always most satisfying to see the faces of the young, and the not so young, reflected in the flames of the torches as the two columns entered the rear of this beautiful and historic building. Tintern Abbey is certainly an atmospheric location by day. But by night, in floodlight, with hundreds of flaming torches burning brightly and with the sound of carols sung by the choir, it became a positively magical place. Once all were within the Abbey the congregation sang together the most popular carols lead by the choir. The carols were interspersed with seasonal Bible readings while prayers were led by the Reverend Tony Jones.
The Club President, Commander Christopher Wilson, said that the event goes from strength to strength but, as the Club ages, new members are needed now to ensure the survival of this wonderful spectacle. He thanked the Wyedean & St John's choir, St John's Ambulance, CADW and the Monmouth Rotary Club for their great support that evening. This Torchlight Carol Service was a very special local event that has launched the Chepstow area Christmas Season. Every member of the family will remember Tintern for a long time to come. And all of the profits went towards Rotary charities.
This year this event raised almost £5,000 for Rotary charities. The Club also runs programmes for global polio eradication, many youth competitions in our local schools such as Young Chef, Young Citizen, Young Photographer, Young Writer, Youth Speaks & Young Musician competitions and sponsor a Life Education bus to encourage young learning. Many charitable donations are made to local organisations and individuals who seek our support. Rotary is the community.
The Christmas season has begun.
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