Families pack Norwich church to support a charity for bullied children

Hundreds of people in Norwich city centre took a break from last minute Christmas shopping to attend a charity carol concert last night.

St Peter Mancroft Church was packed for Red Balloon's family Christmas carol concert, where money was raised to help children who have suffered from bullying.

The Red Balloon Festive Voices and the Norfolk Young Peoples Theatre Voices performed at the concert and there were also readings from Norwich South MP Simon Wright and Norwich North MP Chloe Smith.

Miss Smith read 'Twas the Night Before Christmas while her coalition partner read Christmas.

The Red Balloon charity started 15 years ago and now has five learner centres across the country, including one in Earlham Road, Norwich, where it supports bullied children.

The charity started in the bedroom of Dr Carrie Herbert, who is now chief executive, and was one of the readers at last night's carol concert.

She said: 'Red Balloon started when I was first approached by a family whose 13-year-old daughter had attempted to kill herself because of bullying at school.

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'That bullying had been so bad that this girl would rather have died than go back to school. That was in November 1996 and I felt that we had let this family down.

'For the first seven-and-a-half years I ran the charity from my home, as I did not know where else to run it from, but we now have six learner centres across the country, including ones in Norwich and Cambridge.

'We are growing and we are a successful place to be, but we could not be successful without the type of support we are getting tonight.'

Several carols were sung including Once in Royal David's City, O Little Town of Bethlehem, O Come All Ye Faithful and Hark the Herald Angels Sing.

There were also readings by broadcaster Kevin Piper and Dan Kelly, the chairman of the trustees of Red Balloon, who read a A Politically Correct Christmas Story.


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