Mica Paris and royal visitor at glittering festive fundraiser in Suffolk
- Credit: Archant
World famous singer Mica Paris and the Duchess of Gloucester were among the guests as Bury St Edmunds held an evening to prepare for Christmas and look forward to a special celebration next year.
The event called A Night Before Christmas was hosted by the Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Lady Clare Euston together with the High Sheriff of Suffolk and the Dean of St Edmundsbury.
Some 280 guests were in St Edmundsbury Cathedral for the fundraising evening ahead of the millennium of the foundation of the Abbey of St Edmund, which will be celebrated throughout 2020.
Guests were treated to a champagne reception and a formal 'candlelit' dinner in the nave of the Cathedral. West Suffolk College students prepared and served the meal which was specially created by top award winning Suffolk chefs, including Lee Bye from the Tuddenham Mill and Pascal Canevet from the Maison Bleue restaurant.
Mica Paris and the uplifting Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir performed, along with Mid Suffolk Brass and the Chris Ingham Jazz Quartet.
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This included a beautiful finale of O Holy Night as a collaboration between all the singers and musicians with Mica's voice filling the venue.
The evening - which included an online auction for a range of luxury prizes - raised funds for St Nicholas Hospice, St Elizabeth Hospice and East Anglia's Children's Hospices, and the Cathedral's Foundation of St Edmund.
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Lady Clare Euston, the Lord-Lieutenant for Suffolk, said: "I am delighted that we have such a prestigious event to raise money for charity as well as marking the anniversary of 1,000 years since the founding of the Abbey.
"The performances were beautiful and the evening had Suffolk at its heart. I am so grateful to our sponsors and my volunteer committee for their support. It certainly was a night to remember for our wonderful county whilst raising money for our local charities."
The Very Reverend Joe Hawes, Dean of St Edmundsbury said: "This year will soon turn into 2020, bringing with it the anniversary of King Cnut's founding of the Abbey a millennium ago.
"The celebratory events surrounding this will be a special way of giving thanks for one thousand years of God's love in Suffolk - evident in our hospices and so many other places. This event was a terrific start to the celebrations."