Letter: Tradition of charity thanks to Baker’s Dozen

SHOPPERS listening to carols in Horsham’s Pirie’s Place in the week before Christmas were probably unaware that they were sharing in a charity tradition sustained by local musician John Baker over the past 21 years.

In the late 1980s, John, his wife Audrey and friends, formed Baker’s Dozen, a group which for many years entertained in residential and nursing homes and held charity concerts.

About the same time a group from St John’s Roman Catholic Church, which included John, his wife Audrey and noted local singers Barbara Meaghan and Jill Elsworthy, started the tradition of carol singing for St Catherine’s Hospice, initially in Swan Walk and later moving to Pirie’s Place.

As musical director John has continued to organise this event every year for the past 21 years, recruiting singers and collectors and providing musical accompaniment on the keyboard. Over the years, the ranks of singers have been swelled by friends and singers from other churches and choirs.

Over the past 20 years, John and friends have raised considerably more than £10,000 for St Catherine’s from entertainments and carol singing. Donations from homes and proceeds from concerts all go to charity: mostly to St Catherine’s Hospice with the remainder to CHASE and a parish in Ethiopia, with last month’s performance in Pirie’s Place raising nearly £300 for St Catherine’s.

PATRICK WYNNE-JONES

Springfield Road, Horsham