Princess Anne to open Hft’s virtual Christmas concerts

In light of the pandemic, learning disabilities charity, Hft, will replace its four annual Coming of Christmas concerts with virtual experiences.

Her royal highness, Princess Anne, will open the special event via a pre-recorded video, where she’ll pay tribute to the ways in which the charity has adapted during an unprecedented time.

The evening will then see service users from the charity’s 26 services across the country join forces with a line-up of household names to put on an evening filled with music, readings and festive spirit.

Former television and radio presenter Annabel Giles, whose sister is supported by Hft in Sussex, will be compèring the evening and will be joined by celebrated actors including Michael Pennington, who will be filming a festive reading to be shown at the event.

The world-renowned choir of Magdalen College, Oxford will return to provide music, while a roster of more than 30 people supported by Hft top off the evening’s entertainment by performing a mix of readings, sketches, speeches and songs.

Admission to the virtual concert is free, with the charity inviting people to make a donation if they are able to.

All funds raised are set to go towards Hft’s Pandemic Appeal, which aims to ensure the ongoing safety and wellbeing of people with learning disabilities and the key workers who support them.

This spans from purchasing personalised technology to enable people to live with a greater level of independence, to running virtual day services to reduce loneliness and isolation.

Vanessa Edwards, director of fundraising at Hft, said: ‘Our Christmas concerts have raised hundreds of thousands of pounds over the last 26 years, which has been spent supporting adults with learning disabilities to live the best life possible.

‘We wanted to continue to bring people together for our annual seasonal evening of music, but as local communities aren’t able to gather together in the same way this year we have needed to think a little creatively.

‘That’s why we decided to get people into the Christmas spirit from the comfort of their own homes by combining the entertainment from all our concerts into one magical evening of festive fun.

‘At a time when changes to routine, social isolation and anxieties about how to stay safe are particularly affecting people with learning disabilities, we’re committed to raising funds to ensure we’re able to support them through this difficult time.

‘We’re hoping to see people up and down the country embrace the season of giving to help us raise money for a great cause.’

Hft’s Winter Warmer concert takes place at 7.15pm on 16 December. Click here to sign up.

Photo Credit – Pixabay


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