Strawberry Field’s Festive First!
Strawberry Field staged our premiere, large-scale carol concert in The Auditorium at M&S Bank Arena on Liverpool’s waterfront. ‘Celebrating Christmas with Strawberry Field’, on the first Sunday of Advent, saw friends and supporters enjoy a unique start to the festive season in the city.
BBC Radio Merseyside presenter and Liverpool tour guide, Paul Beesley, compered the event with musical accompaniment and contributions from Liverpool Walton Salvation Army Band. Joining in the feast of fun were Liverpool Walton Singing Company, Sale Salvation Army Songsters, Liverpool Signing Choir and renowned swing vocalist Asa Murphy. In recognition of Strawberry Field’s history, acclaimed John Lennon tribute artist and staff member Jimmy Coburn together with the Liverpool Walton Singing Company and the Liverpool Signing Choir created a moving performance of ‘Happy Christmas (War is Over)’.
Alongside the music, Strawberry Field staff and trainees brought Bible readings and Major Kathy Versfeld, Mission Director of Strawberry Field, offered a time to pause and reflect on the birth of Jesus Christ.
Strawberry Field was previously a Salvation Army children’s home where the young John Lennon came to play and escape. Today, The Salvation Army continues to support young people through the Steps at Strawberry Field programmes. John’s sister, Julia Baird - Honorary President of Strawberry Field – told the audience about Strawberry Field’s work to support young people into paid employment.
Proceeds from the event will help to keep the ‘Gates Open for Good’ at Strawberry Field to empower and support young people with learning difficulties and other barriers to employment, and the wider Strawberry Field community.
Adding their support to the celebrations were the Lord-Lieutenant of Merseyside, Mark Blundell; High Sheriff of Merseyside, Ms Lesley Martin-Wright; Mayor of Knowsley, Councillor Eddie Connor; and Mayor of Halton, Councillor Mark Dennett. Also in attendance were former Great British Bake-Off contestants Lizzie Acker and Freya Cox; Lizzie is an ambassador for the Strawberry Field Steps to Work programme.
Thank you very much to everyone who came along and to the many people who played a part in making this such a wonderful way to start our Christmas celebrations.