Actors Simon Callow and Shelia Hancock read passages from two of Charles Dickens’s greatest works this afternoon as part of the novelist’s 200th birthday celebrations.
They captivated a congregation of about 400 people at St Mary’s , the parish church of Portsea, with excerpts from Oliver Twist and David Copperfield.
It was apt because this was the church in which the infant Dickens was christened on March 4, 1812.
At the beginning of the service Nigel Atkinson, the deputy Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, read a message from Prince Charles in which he praised ‘the wonderful literary heritage’ left to the world.
Three songs from the musical Oliver! Were sung by pupils from St John’s Cathedral Catholic Primary School.