Transform’s carol service at St Mary’s Church Fetcham on 11 December celebrated the centenary of the first ever World War I Christmas truce, which took place exactly 100 years ago in 1914.
The service was organised with Leatherhead & District Chamber of Commerce, and offices and events venue Fetcham Park, in aid of Transform.
The service was led by the Reverend Marion de Quidt, Assistant Minister of St Mary’s, who gave a welcome message that explained the historic events that took place 100 years earlier:
“100 years ago this night, 11 December 1914, in the midst of World War I, British and German soldiers briefly ceased hostilities, a wondrous Silent Night, a symbolic truce, and a moment of peace and humanity and Christian love in the midst of the barbarity of the Great War.”
Several Christmas truces were held during the course of World War I, with both sides putting down their weapons and celebrating Christmas together. The temporary ceasefires included the singing of carols, exchanging of gifts and, famously, football matches. The first truce was held on 11 December 1914.
Led by St Mary’s choir, the congregation sang traditional carol Silent Night with the second verse in German, recognising the loss of life on both sides of the conflict.
The service raised over £1,200, which will help homeless and vulnerable people across Surrey. Unfortunately, former service personnel are often affected by mental health issues, homelessness or substance dependency, and we have supported many such people over the years.
Dame Sarah Goad DCVO, Lord Lieutenant of Surrey and our Patron, explained the importance of Transform’s work:
“As we enjoy our Christmas trees and our presents, we may forget that for many people the world is not a pretty place. For people who are homeless, or damaged by drugs or alcohol, or suffering abuse, Christmas is hard. Harder still is the long and lonely struggle with homelessness, addiction and despair.
“Transform does what it says on the tin – and it needs our support. I have seen first-hand what a difference this charity makes. So I am delighted that Transform is planning to launch several new projects, including a winter shelter to help homeless people. Thanks to Transform there is definitely more ‘room at the inn’ in Surrey this Christmas.”
One person who we have helped is Beth, who came to the carol service and gave a reading alongside our Chairman David Turner. Beth said:
“Without Transform I wouldn’t be in the good place I am today. They have helped me with my family, my housing, education, my children and so much more. Transform has given me a concrete foundation for my recovery. I was really excited to do the reading at the carol service – I want every opportunity to give something back to Transform.”
The service was followed by a drinks reception, with drinks kindly donated by Fetcham Park. The event was supported by Leatherhead-based company ExxonMobil and the company’s Regional Director of Public & Government Affairs, Robert Lanyon, also gave a reading during the service.