The 3rd Battalion, The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment heralded in the festive season with style amidst the magnificent splendour of Canterbury Cathedral with their now well-established annual traditional Christmas treat, the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment Canterbury Cathedral Carol Service.
The service was led by Reverend, Captain Paul Collins, Padre to the 3rd Battalion PWRR and Reverend, Dr Tim Naish, Canterbury Cathedral’s Canon Librarian. The service commenced with the clergy processing down the nave to the tune of Once in Royal David’s City.
“Oh I volunteered to give the reading, I thought it would be an interesting experience. I have been in the Cathedral before, but never done anything more than sat in the congregation so I thought why not? and jumped at the opportunity.” Private James Polson, HQ Company, 3rd Btn PWRR
The Band of the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, conducted by its Director of Music, Lieutenant Colonel Wayne Hopla, provided musical accompaniment throughout the evening’s proceedings and were joined by pupils from two local school choirs, Wickhambreaux Church of England Primary School and Spring Grove School.
The congregation was a mixture of proud parents, soldiers in uniform and bemedaled veterans who, when not belting out their favourite carols, were either craning to catch a glimpse of their child or simply sitting back and soaking up the Christmassy atmosphere.
Readings were given by the Battalion’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Tim Petransky and Private James Polson. James from Headquarters Company, originally from Northern Ireland explained. “I came over to Canterbury to go to University; whist I was studying I decided that in my free time I’d give something back to the country, so I joined the Army Reserves and for the challenge as well.”
James works three days a week as a Reservist helping to process new recruits into the Battalion. When asked how he came to be selected to do the reading he said, “Oh I volunteered to give the reading, I thought it would be an interesting experience. I have been in the Cathedral before, but never done anything more than sat in the congregation so I thought why not? and jumped at the opportunity.”
The sermon was given by the Padre to 3rd Battalion PWRR, Rev’d Captain Paul Collins who drew on the sentiments to be found within the Charles Dickens classic ‘A Christmas Carol’ which he confessed as being his second favourite book – after the Bible of course! “I usually read it at this time every year” he said. He urged everyone to look beyond and towards the true spirit of Christmas, much like Ebenezer Scrooge eventually did.
At the end of the service a retiring collection was made with proceeds going to the Army Benevolent Fund, The Soldiers’ Charity.