Banbury MP’s concert raises £37k to help Syrians

Victoria Prentis MP gives The Address at the Singing for Syrians concert in Westminster. NNL-161220-152309001
Victoria Prentis MP gives The Address at the Singing for Syrians concert in Westminster. NNL-161220-152309001

More than 800 people joined celebrities Simon Callow and Alexander Armstrong for a carol service in aid of MP Victoria Prentis’ Singing for Syrians Initiative.

The service, which was held on December 13 at St Margaret’s Church, in Westminster, raised money for the Hands Up Foundation, a charity which pays the salaries of doctors and funds prosthetic limb clinics in Syria.

Events have been held all over the country, including in the Marlborough Road Methodist Church in Banbury, St Mary’s Church, in Adderbury and in Shenington.

At the Westminster concert, the choir was made up of a group of cross-party MPs, including Phil Boswell, Robert Buckland, Fiona MacTaggart and Dr Eilidh Whiteford.

Fellow Oxfordshire MP Nicola Blackwood, together with Andrea Jenkyns, Anne-Marie Trevelyan and Will Quince all performed solos.

They were joined by performances from celebrities Simon Callow, Alexander Armstrong, Tom Hollander, Brigid Keenan and Michael Morpurgo.

Mrs Prentis said: ‘It was brilliant to see St Margaret’s full to the brim with people showing their support for those living through the ongoing horrors of civil war.

“We want the people of Syria to know they are not forgotten and we are doing all we can to alleviate their suffering.

“The concert alone raised £37,000 and over 20 more events are planned across the country in the days leading up to Christmas.

“All the money will go directly to where it is needed most. It will make such a difference.

“I am so grateful to all those who supported us at the concert, including my parliamentary colleagues, as well as our big supporters including local companies Brita Ltd, Dorchester Living and Bicester Village.”

During Prime Minister’s Questions the following day, Mrs Prentis asked what was being done to make sure that UK aid is reaching the most vulnerable people.

PM Theresa May said: “First of all, I absolutely join my honourable friend in congratulating everyone who took part in Singing for Syrians.

“I am sure the whole house welcomes the work that the group is doing and the money that it is raising and putting to extremely good use.

“The house was struck when she mentioned the number of people who are on the waiting list for prosthetic limbs.

“Our humanitarian aid support for Syria is the biggest such effort the UK has made. Of course we are giving money to the refugees who have fled from Syria.

“We are also working diplomatically to try to reduce the suffering and to ensure the sort of aid and medical support that she is talking gets through to the citizens of Aleppo.

“We will continue to ensure our humanitarian aid is being put to good use—helping those who are vulnerable and also helping those who need the education and support to be able, in due course, to rebuild Syria when it is stable and secure.”

For more information visit www.singingforsyrians.com.