FAMILIES gathered to sing Christmas carols at a shopping centre.
Gunwharf Quays, in Portsmouth, organised and hosted the carol concert next to its tree last night and shoppers were happy to watch and join in.
We wanted to offer something to the community that would get people together and remembering what Christmas is about.Yvonne Clay
The University of Portsmouth musical society helped lead the service with a range of traditional festive tunes.
The Rev Canon Peter Leonard, from Portsmouth Cathedral, was also there singing along.
Yvonne Clay, senior marketing manager for Gunwharf Quays, said: ‘We wanted to offer something to the community that would get people together and remembering what Christmas is about.
‘The group from the university’s musical society are wonderful and came down to sing carols.
‘We invited people down to the shopping centre to join in and join us but also enjoy feeling festive while watching the very talented singers.’
This is the first time Gunwharf Quays has put on an event of this type. In the past it has worked with HMS Warrior but this year, wanted to do something different.
After the carols, visitors were invited to enjoy mulled wine and mince pies.
Yvonne added: ‘We wanted to share a lovely evening with people and just wish them a happy Christmas in our own way.’
Michelle Ronald watched the carol concert with her seven-year-old daughter Mia. The pair, from Southsea, had been out shopping when they heard the carols.
Mia said: ‘I like the big Christmas tree. It is so pretty. I also like the tinsel the singers are wearing.
‘I was able to join in with some songs which was fun.’
Michelle, 34, added: ‘It is really lovely to finish the shopping and have something like this to enjoy. The singers had wonderful voices and it has definitely made me feel more festive.’
To help give people the chance to join in, Gunwharf Quays provided a song sheet. Singing along were husband and wife John and Eden Parker, from Old Portsmouth. John, 74, said: ‘We love these sort of services, just nice carols under a Christmas tree.
‘There should be more like this, just simple singing and feeling festive without too much hustle and bustle.’
‘The mulled wine and mince pies are a nice touch too.’