Charles Kenyon's Country Diary: Carols for the homeless on Christmas Day

Dedicated charities in Lincoln and beyond are ensuring that this vulnerable group is provided for during the festive period, writes our columnist

Hark, the herald angels sing - but only if we raise the money. Lincoln Cathedral has a remarkable choir that adds beauty and meaning to all services - at least one a day and three on Sundays.

At Christmas, the carol services are packed out. Being in a choir is hard work and choristers start young. After passing an audition, a probationer chorister spends a year taking singing lessons and studying music before joining the full choirs. Choristers have to attend the private Lincoln Minster School, where they are supported by bursaries and sponsorship.

Raising the money for that is the task of the dedicated Lincoln Cathedral Music Fund volunteers, who fundraise tirelessly throughout the year. It is such a pity that the state sector cannot afford to contribute to this wonderful education.

It is estimated that there are 70 homeless people in Lincoln. On Christmas Day, about 40 of them have lunch in a nearby church. This is sponsored by local businesses, helped by local clergy and cathedral staff.

The foremost Lincoln homelessness charity is the Nomad Trust, which also has church roots.

Such initiatives are not unique to Lincoln, of course. In London, St George's church in Hanover Square offers a coupon scheme for homeless people to buy meals at the traditional Cabmen's Shelters, giving out 80 to 90 coupons a week. The music at St George's on a Sunday is superb, and you know that your collection donation is going to a good cause.

Charles Kenyon lives near Market Rasen, retiredcolonel@oldvicarage.net

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