THE first open-air carol service to be staged at a Woking church was judged a huge success, attracting nearly as many people as would usually be accommodated indoors.

There were more than 230 in the car park congregation at St Mary of Bethany, Mount Hermon, on Saturday evening, joining an event designed to be cautious of the coronavirus.

“One of the things that was really special was that all ages were represented,” said the organiser, the Rev Bekah Clark, associate vicar. “There were around 40 children and people commented that it really was an event for everyone.”

Those attending were able to download the words of the carols from the church website beforehand, partly as a COVID-19 precaution but print-outs were also available on the night. There were three traditional readings, including one by the Mayor of Woking, Liam Lyons.

Musical accompaniment was provided by members of the Lawrence Family, famed for their lockdown recitals last year in Mabel Street, Woking. Refreshments were donated by Morrisons supermarket.

“The sense of togetherness was something that was appreciated,” said Bekah. “We’re hoping to do similar events, perhaps something for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, as well as planning outdoor carols again next year.”