Animal lovers joined together for an evening of festive cheer all to suppawt the RSPCA’s work helping animals in need over winter
TV presenter Matt Johnson led a chorus of special guests at a Christmas concert in London in aid of the RSPCA.
More than 250 people gathered together at St Andrews Church, Holborn, on Tuesday (3 December) for an evening of festive fun and cheer to raise money for the animal welfare charity.
Matt - who is an RSPCA ambassador - hosted the evening with help from his rescue dog, Alan, and ensured all of the guests had a hoot and got into the Christ-mouse mood!
The TV presenter said: “As an RSPCA ambassador, I’m honoured to be asked to host the Christmas Concert. I’m a big fan of Christmas but this event is particularly exciting. It’s so relaxed and joyful.”
The London International Gospel Choir performed Christmas quackers such as Silent Night and White Christmas, while guests joined in for a sing-along session to other festive classics.
Actor and presenter Brian Blessed, comedian Jon Culshaw, TV vet Dr Rory Cowlam and teen conservationist Bella Lack delivered readings, and the audience also watched the RSPCA’s recently released Christmas film ‘Santa’s Little Helper’.
After the performance, guests enjoyed mulled wine and mince pies while supporters played Santa Paws to bring seasons bleatings to the thousands of animals the RSPCA will help over the festive period by buying festive merchandise and making donations - part of the charity’s Stock the Sleigh appeal.
This is the first year the RSPCA has invited the public to the Christmas Concert and the first time selling tickets to the feel-good event.
Chief executive Chris Sherwood said: “Christmas is a time we are all thinking about families and lots of animals haven’t got families, they haven’t got the care and love they need. We are there for them at Christmas and our concert is a reminder of that.”
RSPCA officers and animal centre staff work 365 days a year to care for animals and Christmas is no exception. On Christmas day in 2018 the charity received 934 calls to it’s cruelty line - the highest number for five years and a 28% increase compared with 2017.
Last December, we answered more than 43,000 calls, many reporting neglected, abused or suffering animals and we investigated more than 10,000 complaints.
Across the RSPCA dinner will be prepared for at least 3,000 dogs and 4,000 cats with no home to call their own on Christmas Day. The hard working carers and volunteers in RSPCA branches and centres try to make this time of year special for the animals by saving up donated treats and toys for them.
Brian Blessed said: “We’re guardians of this planet and the RSPCA is a guardian of animals. This event shows that - it’s wonderful.”
And comedian Jon Culshaw said it was an ‘honour’ to speak at the event for a second year. He added: “I really feel it’s important to remember the animals and this is a concert for them.”
From everyone at the RSPCA, Meowwy Christmas and a Hoppy New Year!
This Christmas, the charity is asking the public to support its Stock the Sleigh campaign. To donate, please visit www.rspca.org.uk/giftofkindness.