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Stars come out for Children's Hospital Christmas Concert

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BBC Correspondent, John Simpson, star of Miranda, Patricia Hodge and Doc Martin actress, Emily Bevan, are showing their support for the Oxford Children's Hospital as guest readers at a special Christmas event.

The Dorchester Abbey Christmas Concert has become an important fixture in the Oxfordshire social calendar - seen by many as the start to the Christmas season.

This year's concert, on Thursday 1 December 2016, promises to be another fabulous event, with the Choir of Winchester Cathedral performing alongside a number of very special readings throughout the evening.

The concerts were started in 2006 during the fundraising campaign to build the Oxford Children's Hospital.

This years’ event will celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the opening of the Children’s Hospital and launch a new £2 million fundraising campaign.

Caroline Compston, from Steeple Aston is the founder of the concert. She said: "When we started the concert back in 2006 we viewed it as a one-off, but it has been so successful and helped us to provide so much specialist medical equipment for the Oxford Children's Hospital that we have just kept on going.

"You couldn't ask for a more beautiful setting for a Christmas concert than Dorchester Abbey. This, along with the delightful sound of the Winchester Cathedral Choir and the very special readings, will create an absolutely marvellous event. 

"We aim to raise over £50,000 through this one concert, which will go towards new accommodation for parents and families of children being treated at the hospital. For families that have a sick child the additional stress of finding a place to sleep can be overwhelming. We hope to give them a home from home to help them cope with the anxiety of having a very sick child."

Award winning actress and Star of Miranda, Patricia Hodge, took part in the event in 2010 and is looking forward to returning once more as a guest reader.

She said: "I am delighted to be able to support the Oxford Children’s Hospital once again at this very special Christmas concert. I know the event raises huge sums to help young patients - and this seems particularly significant during the Christmas period."

BBC's John Simpson CBE, who was recently a patient at the John Radcliffe Hospital, added: "Making sure children have the best possible experience in hospital and can be surrounded by their family is clearly a very worthwhile cause. I have heard a lot about this concert and know that there have been some very special readers in the past, including the great Sir Terry Wogan, so I am thrilled to be able take part and support the Oxford Children's Hospital."

Doc Martin actress, Emily Bevan who also starred in JK Rowling's The Casual Vacancy is looking forward to her first Dorchester Abbey event. She explained: "It's lovely to be able to do something to help youngsters in hospital and make their experience that little bit easier for them and their families."

CEO of the hospital charity, Douglas Graham, added: "We are so grateful to the dedicated committee that organises this unique event and to the readers and choir who make it so special. Over the past ten years these concerts have raised around £250,000 - funding state-of-the-art equipment and facilities that make such a difference to our Children's Hospital. It seems very fitting therefore that this event will launch our 10th Anniversary Fundraising Appeal and continue this wonderful tradition of support for our youngest patients."

This year's concert is on Thursday 1 December at 7.00pm in Dorchester Abbey. It will be followed by wine and bowl food in the Abbey.

Tickets are available at £25 to £70 - online at or please call / email the charity.