The East Kent Provincial Carol Service
The Provincial Carol Service was held on Friday 11th December at St Barbara’s Church, The Corps of Royal Engineers’ Garrison Church, in Brompton, with the kind permission of the Senior Chaplain, The Rev’d Iorwerth Price.
East Kent Freemasons, together with their wives, families and friends from all over the Province attended the service, headed by the Provincial Grand Superintendent, Geoffrey Dearing. The audience was also honoured with the presence of Major Steve Dollimore from the Royal Engineers, and his wife Mrs Fay Dollimore, together with the Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayoress of Medway, Cllr Steve and Mrs Josie Iles.
The programme of entertainment this year was provided by members of the Provincial Choir, together with their ladies section, conducted by Philippe Lacamp with Christopher Humphreys as organist. In response to feedback from the previous carol service, there were a greater number of carols and much more audience participation.
This year the occasion was marked by the presence of the Royal Engineers Association Band, conducted by their Musical Director, Donald “Wally” Hammonds.
Their stimulating music, and Wally’s light-hearted comments, raised everyone’s spirits and a marvellous time was had by all. The band, which was formed some five years ago, was made up from a number of other bands, including The Royal Engineers, The Royal Marines, The Guards, The Kent Police Band, The Medway Concert Band, The East Peckham Silver Band and The Cranbrook Band to name but a few.
Wally Hammonds, who amused everyone with his cheerful banter, announced that he had first attended the Garrison Church in 1946 as a Band Boy just 14½ years old. He rose to the rank of Band Master with the RE and now, in his eighties, volunteers his time to lead this band.
At the end of the evening, Geoffrey Dearing presented Mrs Dollimore and Mrs Iles each with a bouquet of flowers before thanking all those that made the evening possible. He thanked the audience for attending and wished everyone a Joyous and Peaceful Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year.
After the Blessing given by the Provincial Chaplain, The Rev’d Neville Gallagher, everyone left to the sound of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” in good cheer and ready for the Festive Season.
The Provincial Carol Service was organised under the aegis of the Provincial Grand Chapter of East Kent, by the Carol Service Committee under the direction of the Provincial Grand Chapter Charity Steward – Derry Clements – together with Chris Metherell, Graeme Wyles, Mike Hayward and the Musical Director Philippe Lacamp. Members of the East Kent Provincial Grand Stewards’ Chapter also helped with the arrangements.