A Christmas concert organised in a few days to highlight the plight of Derbyshire’s fire-ravaged All Saints’ Church in Mackworth has been heralded a great success.
Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons Auctioneers and a familiar face on TV’s Bargain Hunt, pulled out all the stops to organise the Shine A Light concert from the church grounds.
It was livestreamed on YouTube from 4pm on December 19, coincidentally around the same time the Government announced harsher Covid restrictions.
“Shine a Light hit the right note and helped to light up lives when people truly needed a lift,” said Charles. He organised the concert after being personally devasted by the fire at the centuries-old building on December 3.
The church, badly damaged in a suspected arson attack, has been part of Hanson family life for generations. He married there, as did his parents and grandparents, loved ones are buried there and his children, Matilda and Fred, were christened there.
Charles said: “It was a very special night. It’s been such a tough year for everyone. I had to do something to help 2020 end on a happier note. A wonderful mix of music and seasonal songs swept the sacred ground of All Saints and the church was illuminated by a dramatic lighting display which included a giant star.
“It certainly made people feel better about their personal plight, and helped to kickstart plans to rebuild the church. I must thank the fantastic performers including Beyond the Barricade, singers Faith Tucker and Richard Comfort and all the behind-the-scenes volunteers who made it happen.
“It was a special evening for my parents, too. They married at All Saints and celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary on December 20. It was wonderful for them to see the church looking so beautiful.
Charles and Rebecca Hansons' wedding in 2010.
“Already more than £15,000 has been raised to help rebuild it. Donations have flooded in thanks to two GoFundMe pages, one set up by myself and another by Melanie Wood, and today (Dec 21) I arrived at Hansons’ Derbyshire saleroom to find £2,000 worth of cheques for the church had arrived in the post. I am so grateful for this tidal wave of kindness.
“I’m really looking forward to working with the church and community to help All Saints’ stand tall again. It dates back to the 1340s and is mentioned in the Domesday book of 1086. It’s been a place of salvation for centuries and welcomed all faiths, all religions. It’s survived world wars and was standing when the Black Death took hold in 1346. It must be rebuilt and I’ll work night and day to make that happen. Let it be a beacon of light for mankind again – and a beacon of hope for us all this Christmas.”
Donations to Mackworth’s All Saints’ Church Restoration Fund can be made by sending payments through bank transfer to account number 70691668, sort code 30-92-59. Cheques made out to PCC Mackworth All Saints Church can be sent to: All Saints’ Church Appeal, care of Charles Hanson, Hansons, Heage Lane, Etwall, Derbyshire DE65 6LS. Donations can also be made via Charles’ crowdfunding page: https://www.gofundme.com/all-saints-mackworth-mission-rebuild.
If you wish to help the campaign in any way, email [email protected].
The Shine A Light concert can be watched on Hansons’ YouTube channel - click here