Dorking, the Right Reverend Ian Brackley gave the Blessing and final reading where John unfolds the great mystery of the incarnation. The Collect was read by Reverend Andrew Tuck, Rector of Farnham, and the Prayer for Farnham Castle by the Reverend Roy Kingston, Head Guide for Farnham Castle.
In the absence of Baroness Bottomley, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Vice-Chairman Jim Singer warmly thanked the choir and commented that when the original castle was built in the early half of the twelfth century its thick walls were built to withstand conflict unlike today when the castle, a venue of choice, is here to promote international understanding.The choir then left the Hall and made their way up back up to the minstrels gallery for a carillon of 'Love, Joy, Hope and Wonder' to echo through a festive Farnham Castle.
Guests arriving for the annual Christmas carol service, hosted by Farnham Castle International Briefing and Conference Centre, were greeted by Chief Executive James Twiss and his wife, Petra. Seasonal mulled wine and mince pies were served prior to the carol service with Farnham Youth Choir conducted by David Victor-Smith and accompanied on the piano by Julia Freeman. From the gallery high above the castle’s Great Hall the choir opened the concert with a joyful Festive Alleluia and processional carol Once In Royal David’s City when treble Matthew Brown sang the first verse solo. Prior to reading the Bidding Prayer, James Twiss asked all present to remember the harsh realities facing those who are homeless, dispossessed or living in war and disaster zones that are so soon forgotten, and to pray that governments may be granted honestyand integrity.
As well as leading the guests, who included the mayors of Waverley and Farnham, in the well-loved traditional carols, the choir delighted guests with such lovely arrangements as Andrew Carter’s Maria Walks Amid The Thorn, Patrick Hadley’s I Sing of a Maiden and the hauntingly beautiful Coventry Carol. Farnham’s Youth Choir, who have again this year been invited to take part in the John Rutter Christmas Concert held in London's Festival Hall, also sang in Latin Rutter’s arrangement of Personent Hodie and that rhythmic West Indian carol De Virgin Mary Had A Baby Boy. Bible readings telling of the birth of Christ were given by Pat Evans, Farnham Castle Company Secretary, Susan Crowe, Farnham Castle Advisory Council, Matthew MacLachlan, Programme Manager, and in Spanish by Carlos Gonzalez Carrasco, Intercultural Consultant. The Bishop of