Do the opening bars of Once in Royal David’s City get you in the festive mood? Or do you prefer the fairytale feel of Walking in the Air?

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Whatever your favourite tune, the EDP’s annual Festival of Carols is guaranteed to spread some Christmas cheer next month and kick-start the festive season in style.

Tickets are now on sale for the ever-popular event – and if previous years are anything to go by, they are likely to sell out quickly.

The concert will take place on Wednesday, December 5 at St Andrew’s Hall in Norwich.

Canon Roger Royle, best known as the presenter of the BBC’s Songs of Praise, will return to Norwich to host the evening for the second time.

EDP editor Nigel Pickover, who will read one of the evening’s lessons, said: “The EDP’s Festival of Carols is a well-established event in the county’s festive calendar and kicks off the Christmas celebrations for many people.”

Lessons will also be read by managing director of the EDP’s parent company Archant Norfolk, Johnny Hustler, Peter Wilson, chief executive of Norwich Theatre Royal, Paddy Seligman, chairman of the We Care Appeal, and the Lord Mayor of Norwich Ralph Gayton.

As they sit in Norwich’s stunning 15th century St Andrew’s Hall, the audience will be entertained by the Broadland Youth Choir and the EDP Festival Choir, which forms specially for the concert each year under the stewardship of musical director Carole Tims.

They will also be joined by concert favourites Cawston Brass Band and organist Alan Morris.

Mr Pickover said: “Weeks of rehearsals go into the performances by the Broadland Youth Choir, the Festival Choir, Cawston Brass Band and organist Alan Morris.

“But it wouldn’t be the same without the people of Norfolk in fine voice, singing their favourite Christmas carols. I hope my favourite, In the Bleak Mid Winter, is included.

“Tickets are snapped up every year and I’m sure this one will be no different, so make sure you get yours as soon as possible.”

Funds will once again be raised for the EDP We Care Appeal, which offers vital support to the county’s often unacknowledged carers, with the East Anglian Air Ambulance also benefiting this year.

We Care chairman Paddy Seligman said the charity had received a total of £6,622.88 as a result of the concerts over the years.

She added: “It’s a fantastic privilege to be allowed, once again, to benefit from the Festival of Carols.

“Every year the We Care Appeal benefits from the generosity not only of those who buy tickets to support the events, but also who kindly fill our buckets at the end of the evening.

“It makes a great difference to us to know that the We Care Appeal remains popular within the county and, on behalf of the carers that we are able to help, I thank everyone who is coming to the Festival of Carols.”

Jess Down, fundraising manager for EAAA in Norfolk, said: “We are delighted to be a recipient of funds raised at the EDP carol concert. East Anglian Air Ambulance deeply appreciates the support that Archant gives, and the generosity of all local people, whose fundraising on our behalf ensures that our helicopter ambulances are available to help people in their hour of need.”

Tickets are £8.75 each. Doors open at 6.45pm for a 7.30pm start. seats are on a first-come, first-choice basis, but if you have any special seating requirements call 01603 772175.

Tickets are available from the EDP office at Prospect House; by post (write to EDP Festival of Carols, Front Office, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE) with a cheque made payable to Archant Norfolk Limited - remember to include you name, address, and a telephone number or email address.

You can also purchase online at www.edp24.co.uk/shop - there is a link to this next to the top-right corner of this story.

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