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Gogglebox’s Kate Bottley to be part of second drive-in carol service – crowdfunder launched to support event

Kate Bottley became the nation’s favourite vicar after appearing on Gogglebox – and this Christmas she will carry out a reading for the second family drive-in carol service organised by a Wortley church.

Farnley and Wortley vicar, the Rev Clare Corley, is helping to organise the festive drive-in service at Dunelm’s car park, after the one she helped organise last year proved a big success.

She’s hoping this year’s event will be even bigger than last year’s, which featured TV’s Harry Gration, Amanda Harper from Look North and Gaynor Barnes from ITV’s Calendar – and there are plans for live music and a special gift bag. As well as Kate Bottley, it’s hoped to get more celebrity readings for the service.

Rev Claire Corley

Rev Corley said the service was a modern take on a traditional idea and told West Leeds Dispatch:

“Last year’s event really worked. It was well organised, the technical side worked and people felt safe. There was such a great atmosphere and I really wanted the whole of Leeds to experience the service! The two services we ran sold out within three days.

“We’re wanting to go bigger and even better this year, with more people able to attend, but we have the challenge of organising it without the benefit of Covid grants to fund it.”

This year’s event is involving five churches – Farnley & Wortley, St Luke’s in Holbeck, Christ Church Upper Armley, St Bartholomew’s in Armley and Beeston St Mary’s – and a crowdfunding campaign is starting on Sunday to raise the £3,000 needed to fund the event.

Rev Corley said: “Once again, we want to make it a free event, but our funding source has dried up, so we are embarking on our first ever Crowd Funding Campaign to raise the £3K that we need to hire the professional sound, stage and projection.”

Videos will shortly be going out to support the crowd funder, alongside posters and fliers, but encouraged anyone thinking of attending the event to support it.

Donations to the crowdfunder can be made here.

The drive-in carol service will run on Sunday, 19 December at 5.30pm and 7.30pm at Dunelm car park, Leeds LS12 1EF. Rev Corley thanked Dunelm manager for his ongoing support of the event. “Dunelm went above and beyond for the event last year and made us all feel very welcome,” she added.

Volunteers have also been frantically knitting Christmas Angels to scatter around the Parish, are planning a Christmas Fayre, Messy Church, Scratch Nativity, a traditional Carols by Candlelight, an Advent Trail and a Christingle.

st johns church wortley
St John’s, Wortley. Copyright Betty Longbottom and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence.

Meanwhile, The Parish of Wortley and Farnley held a Light Stop event at St John’s Church on Hallowe’en, handing out free tea, coffee, bacon sandwiches, glo-sticks and offering passers-by a chance to warm up in the rain. 

In total they welcomed more than 250 people through their doors, serving over 200 rashers of bacon and innumerable cups of tea and coffee. 

Rev Chris Balding, curate at Wortley and Farnley, said:

“It was incredible to see so many people hanging about in the church hall. I loved how thankful and surprised people were that the church would do this for free. “

Wendy Gaunt, treasurer at Wortley and Farnley, said:

“Light Stop was a joy to see and be a part of, warm and loving Christian hospitality with a warm drink and a bacon butty on a cold wet evening; on the ground mission in action!”

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