Traditional Christmas Carol services are set to go ahead this year thanks to help from Teesside International Airport and Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen.
Drive In Carols, a Christmas carol service watched from the comfort of your own car is being laid on by One Voice Darlington, an expanding network of churches across the Darlington area, on Sunday 20 December with space for 350 vehicles over two services.
Thanks to Mayor Ben Houchen, who stepped in at the last minute to provide the main car park outside Teesside Airport’s terminal building for free, room was found at the proverbial inn for it to go ahead.
One Voice Darlington is led by Reverends Vicky and Barry Thompson, ministers at Darlington Baptist Church. The services will include a talk, prayers and readings from several local churches as well as a live band orchestrating traditional Christmas carols for everyone to join in and sing along to.
The congregation won’t be made to sit on cold outside church pews for the hour-long service either as all guests must remain in the warmth and comfort of their own cars, all parked socially distanced, in front of a large stage. The trailer acting as staging has been kindly donated by local Darlington firm PRD Logistics and the PA system by Kingdom Services.
Mayor Houchen added; “I’m delighted to be able to step in at the last minute and offer our car park at the airport. As the airport is quieter than it would normally have been due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s great to see that we won’t be having another ‘Silent Night’ here until flights resume early in the new year.
“Despite the challenges that remain because of the pandemic, it’s crucial that everyone can still get together in a safe manner and experience as many traditional festivities as possible. Whilst this may not be the most normal way of conducting a carol service, it’s a really great idea and I’m sure everyone that comes along will have a great time.
“This is another great example of how Teesside Airport isn’t just about flights to Alicante and Majorca – however appealing that Spanish sun might be on a cold December night! I wish Vicky and Barry the best of luck for the events and I hope that everyone from across all of Darlington, Teesside and Hartlepool can come along and join in with the sing song.”
Reverends Vicky and Barry Thompson added: “We are really thankful to Ben and the Airport staff for their help after our previous venue became unavailable. We know that this Christmas will be different for us all and are looking forward to a novel and exciting way of sharing the Christmas story.
“With restrictions in number and in singing on our indoor services at the moment, Drive In Carols affords a great opportunity to gather and sing our favourite well-known Christmas songs in a COVID-secure environment. All are welcome.”
To book a space at one of the services at Teesside Airport, visit the One Voice Darlington Facebook page. www.facebook.com/onevoicedarlington
General flight information and more details on safety measures introduced at the airport as a response to the coronavirus pandemic can be found at www.teessideinternational.com
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