Mary Berry helps Oakham’s NSPCC Christmas concert set fundraising record

Mary Berry and other celebrity readers at Oakham's NSPCC Christmas concert. Photo: Rob Davis, Rutland Pride Magazine EMN-160212-110745001
Mary Berry and other celebrity readers at Oakham's NSPCC Christmas concert. Photo: Rob Davis, Rutland Pride Magazine EMN-160212-110745001

Queen of cakes Mary Berry was a special guest at Oakham’s ever-popular annual NSPCC Christmas concert – which raised an impressive £34,000.

The television favourite was one of a number of celebrity readers at the event, held at All Saints Church last Thursday.

A total of 450 packed into the building for an enjoyable evening of carols and readings of Christmas-themed poetry and literature.

Musical entertainment was provided by Harborough Singers and Foresters Brass. The event was compered by Caroline Aston.

In addition to Mary Berry, others who gave readings on the night included fitness guru Rosemary Conley; gardening columnist Nigel Colborn; geneticist Dr Turi King; BBC East Midlands Today presenter Anne Davies; former England rugby captain and Leicester Tigers president Peter Wheeler; and barrister David Farrer QC.

It was the tenth year the concert had been held and organiser Margaret Wheeler said it was the most successful one so far.

She said: “Every year I am amazed and delighted at the support we receive from those who attend the concert – and especially from our many sponsors, programme advertisers and supporters, without whom we wouldn’t be able to raise such an incredible amount of money.

“We are lucky to have a loyal group of celebrity readers who have supported us over the years. They are all excellent performers and really bring the words alive. Mary Berry has taken part twice before and it was lovely to welcome her again this year.”

Over the past 10 years, the concert has raised a total of the £184,000 for the NSPCC.

Those in attendance this year included Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire Baroness Gretton, Lord Lieutenant of Rutland Laurence Howard, and High Sheriff of Rutland Dr Sarah Furness.

One of the highlights of the concert is a boisterous rendition of the 12 Days of Christmas which always ends with cheers and applause.

Earlier this year Margaret received an award in London from the NSPCC in recognition of fundraising work over the years.

She accepted it on behalf of the people of Rutland, saying: “We are such a small county, but the people are so generous with their time and money.”