Last Tuesday was a cold December evening, but all the guests for Royal Brompton Carols by Candlelight were given a warm welcome as they arrived at St Luke’s Church, Chelsea, for this year’s carol concert.

The church looked spectacular, with its beautiful Christmas decorations, as guests filed in. The evening began with a welcome from our chief executive, Richard Bowyer, followed by prayers led by Bishop Bartholomew Orji, Senior Chaplain at Royal Brompton Hospital.

St Luke’s was filled with the angelic singing of London Oratory Schola. They performed classic carols such as The Angel Gabriel, O Holy Night and In The Bleak Midwinter. They were also joined by attendees in spirited renditions of Good King Wenceslas and O Little Town Of Bethlehem.

There were readings of Biblical passages telling the story of the birth of Jesus from Noel De Keyzer of Savills and Revd Mia Hilborn, Head of Spiritual Health Care and Hospitaller for Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust. Thiha Soe, the father of baby Zuri, a Royal Brompton patient, read the poem Little Tree by E.E Cummings and Dr Kshama Wechalekar, head of Royal Brompton’s Nuclear Medicine Department, read Work And Secret Of Success by Hindu philosopher and religious teacher Swami Vivekananda.

We were delighted to welcome back to Royal Brompton Carols by Candlelight Singing For Breathing, a patient choir who have not performed at the concert since 2019. They sang the classic Christmas song Winter Wonderland before being joined by attendees in singing Frank Sinatra’s version of Jingle Bells.

A good night was had by all. Karen Taylor, Lead for Arts and Patient and Public Engagement, said it was “a super festive evening” and patient and digital storyteller Charlie Churchill said: “It's been a while since I attended a Carol Concert of this size ... this one was quite some event ... fabulous contribution from Singing For Breathing.” Singing For Breathing member Pella Mirabito said: “Myself & all of us who sang or attended thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it.

The evening raised £11,804.82 for the Royal Brompton Gamma Camera appeal. This appeal will purchase a brand new gamma camera for Dr Wechalekar’s Nuclear Medicine Department, which will provide clinicians with high quality, fast 3D scans of patients to aid with the diagnosis of conditions and the planning of courses of treatment.

The new camera will replace equipment at the end of its life span and will be more comfortable for patients. It will help patients like baby Zuri, who was given a gamma camera scan after a tumour was removed from her shortly after she was born. The gamma camera was chosen as it was less invasive than other imaging techniques for the newborn, and it showed that she was healing naturally and didn’t need any further procedures.

We would like to thank Savills for sponsoring Royal Brompton Carols by Candlelight and London Oratory Schola and Singing For Breathing for their amazing performances. Thank you also to all the readers.

A special thank you goes out to everyone who came, sang and donated. Your generosity will make a real difference to heart and lung patients. We hope that you all had a wonderful evening and have a merry Christmas.