Carol concert raises more than £13,000 for Welwyn Hatfield charity

PUBLISHED: 13:19 11 December 2018 | UPDATED: 13:27 11 December 2018

The Bishop's Hatfield Girls' School Choir performing at the Willow Carol Concert at St Albans Cathedral. Picture: Kevin Lines.

The Bishop's Hatfield Girls' School Choir performing at the Willow Carol Concert at St Albans Cathedral. Picture: Kevin Lines.

Kevin Lines Photography

A Christmas carol concert held at St Albans Cathedral raised more than £13,000 for a Welwyn Hatfield-based charity.

Megs Wilson hangs a tribute bauble on the tree in memory of daughter Anna, the inspiration for Willow. Picture: Kevin Lines.Megs Wilson hangs a tribute bauble on the tree in memory of daughter Anna, the inspiration for Willow. Picture: Kevin Lines.

A packed audience enjoyed Christmas festivities at St Albans Cathedral for Willow’s annual carol concert.

Joined by Willow life presidents Bob and Megs Wilson, concert-goers raised more than £13,000 for Willow, the WGC-based charity providing Special Days for seriously ill 16 to 40 year olds.

On the night there were magical musical performances from the talented Hertfordshire Chorus, Bishop’s Hatfield Girls’ School Choir, and Enigma String Quartet.

Jayne Herring shared the story of her son Warrick’s Willow Special Day, giving guests a real flavour of the charity’s purpose.

Bob Wilson speaking at the Willow Carol Concert at St Albans Cathedral. Picture: Kevin Lines.Bob Wilson speaking at the Willow Carol Concert at St Albans Cathedral. Picture: Kevin Lines.

She said: “Since being diagnosed, life was turned upside down for Warrick.

“Eleven cycles of chemotherapy and 25 radiotherapy sessions altered his life, and it was punishing him.

“When Willow arranged a trip to Legoland for Warrick and his family, he was full of emotions.

“Lego was always important in his life, and he was really excited to show his son, Kyan, the models that were based on his hometown of Grimsby.

Willow ambassador and Arsenal player Leah Williamson joins the bauble procession at the Willow Carol Concert at St Albans Cathedral. Picture: Kevin Lines.Willow ambassador and Arsenal player Leah Williamson joins the bauble procession at the Willow Carol Concert at St Albans Cathedral. Picture: Kevin Lines.

“It was wonderful to see him so eagerly looking forward to his trip and then afterwards, reminiscing about previous visits as a young boy and the memories of the Lego he’d built as a child.

“Sadly, it was to be one of the last outings they were able to make as a family because Warrick’s condition worsened greatly and he passed away a month or so after his trip.”

Jayne added: “As a parent, losing a child is probably the worst tragedy you can suffer, but his dad and I got immense comfort from the fact that Warrick had the time in his final year to make lots of memories with Lisa and Kyan, for them to enjoy and relive in the future.

“We still feel a great connection to Warrick whenever we see Willow or Lego.”

Megs Wilson at the Willow Carol Concert at St Albans Cathedral. Picture: Kevin Lines.Megs Wilson at the Willow Carol Concert at St Albans Cathedral. Picture: Kevin Lines.

Beautiful baubles adorned the Willow Tribute Tree in memory of loved ones, and a bauble procession saw Bob and Megs Wilson hang a bauble in memory of daughter, Anna, who was the inspiration for Willow.

The WGC charity’s newest ambassador, England Ladies and Arsenal footballer Leah Williamson, placed a bauble representing the charity’s ambassadors and celebrity supporters, alongside representatives from Borras Construction, Willow staff, trustees and volunteers.

Speaking on the night, Willow co-founder Megs Wilson said: “Coming together for this concert provides the opportunity to celebrate the season that so often centres on precious time with family and friends.

“Anna’s legacy continues through those Special Days that Willow provides and we are here to give thanks to all those who continue to make this happen by supporting us through funding, volunteering or gifts in kind and, of course, all of you here tonight.”

Jayne Herring shares her son's Special Day story at the Willow Carol Concert at St Albans Cathedral. Picture: Kevin Lines.Jayne Herring shares her son's Special Day story at the Willow Carol Concert at St Albans Cathedral. Picture: Kevin Lines.

Guests gathered after the performance for wine and mince pies, generously donated by Simmons Bakers.

The Willow Carol Concert is sponsored by St Albans-based Borras Construction.

Staff at the company have been fundraising for Willow since 2008.

• Over the coming months, Willow will receive hundreds of applications from people who are struggling to stay positive in the face of overwhelming news.

Bob Wilson and Jayne Herring at the Willow Carol Concert at St Albans Cathedral. Picture: Kevin Lines.Bob Wilson and Jayne Herring at the Willow Carol Concert at St Albans Cathedral. Picture: Kevin Lines.

All donations, large or small will make a huge difference to the charity based in Fretherne Road, WGC.

You can donate at https://www.willowfoundation.org.uk/donate

A tribute bauble on the tree at the Willow Carol Concert at St Albans Cathedral. Picture: Kevin Lines.A tribute bauble on the tree at the Willow Carol Concert at St Albans Cathedral. Picture: Kevin Lines.

Hertfordshire Chorus singing at the Willow Carol Concert at St Albans Cathedral. Picture: Kevin Lines.Hertfordshire Chorus singing at the Willow Carol Concert at St Albans Cathedral. Picture: Kevin Lines.

The Willow Carol Concert at St Albans Cathedral. Picture: Kevin Lines.The Willow Carol Concert at St Albans Cathedral. Picture: Kevin Lines.

The Bishop's Hatfield Girls' School Choir performing at the Willow Carol Concert at St Albans Cathedral. Picture: Kevin Lines.The Bishop's Hatfield Girls' School Choir performing at the Willow Carol Concert at St Albans Cathedral. Picture: Kevin Lines.

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