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Hark! The herald angels sing

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Patients and staff on the elderly and stroke wards at the Royal Free were left enchanted after children from a local school choir came to wish them a happy Christmas, singing some classic Christmas carols along the way.

The Royal Free’s voluntary services department has been inviting the choir from St Christopher’s School in Hampstead to sing carols to patients on the elderly and stroke wards for the past seven years.

The schoolgirls, aged nine to 11, had to audition for the highly sought after place in the school’s chamber choir.

Music teacher Gary Spalding said: “They are the crème de la crème of the school. To be in the chamber choir they have to first pass a really difficult audition.”

Chris Bracewell, singing teacher, added: “The girls love singing, they practice at least twice a week, we all love coming to the Royal Free and very much look forward to coming back next year.”

Paul Clarke, a healthcare assistant on the ward, said his ears pricked up when he turned a corner and heard the girls singing Oh Come All Ye Faithful. He said: “It’s nice to have the children come and sing to the elderly patients here. The patients really appreciate it. You can see they are really touched when their eyes start welling up - it’s a very moving moment for everyone here.”

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