The Wassailers Carol Singing Group

EACH year I record the total amount of money the Wassailers raise by putting a short paragraph in the Stroud News and Journal.

This year I was asked to provide a photograph and more information.

It began in 1962, the year my future wife and I left school – this year is our 57th continuous season of singing.

Myself and wife Sylvia are the only two from the original group.

In the early years we only went out on a couple of evenings.

In 1966 we raised £16 1s 7d – this year almost £4,300.

After the first decade or two we adopted Victorian costume.

Money raised has been mostly for Oxfam, but also for St Rose’s School and, this year, most of it was for Cancer Research UK.

I have a pitch pipe and conduct – Sylvia and I organise the evenings and personnel.

Not necessarily the same people sing each evening, we have around 20 to draw from and roughly a dozen go each of six or seven evenings.

Also a larger ad hoc group, not in costume, performs twice in Merrywalks Shopping Precinct.

The area we sing in includes hotels and pubs in Stroud, Nailsworth, Cirencester, Painswick and Tetbury – including the Arboretum.

For 21 years we also provided Christmas concerts for the Roccoco Garden at Painswick.

We have sung on Christmas Eve at the Bear Inn at Rodborough every single year since 1962.

We have sung carols for Prince Charles on two occasions and Prince Michael of Kent for several Christmases at his former home at Lypiatt.

The photo was taken a few years ago during a break from singing and doesn’t include the full group.

Some of the carol books have been used continuously since 1957.

We would like to use this opportunity to thank all the singers who give so much of their time each December and also the people who give so generously.