Can we create the biggest socially distanced choir Bedford’s ever seen?

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Sing safely and keep your distance this year...

With carol services cancelled and Christmas get-togethers given the heave-ho, one Bedford resident has come up with a socially distanced way that we can unite to spread some festive cheer (and not the virus).

Ben Woodfine – who many readers may know from his time as bartender at The Bear and as a librarian at Bedford Library and manager at Bromham Library – got in touch with the Bedford Independent with an idea for a Borough-wide carol concert that streets and neighbourhoods can take part in.

He’s hoping that at 6pm on Christmas Eve, streets, villages and neighbourhoods will take part in Doorstep Carols, a synchronised sing-a-long, forming a huge socially-distanced choir.

Here’s what inspired Ben to come up with the idea…

“While I watched the smile grow on the face of our two-year-old as he did his best to sing-a-long to Jingle Bells I was reminded that Christmas should really be all about inspiring a little bit of happiness rather than worrying about expensive gifts and all the other complications that come along with it, especially after the year we’ve all had.”

Ben Woodfine and his son, getting into the Christmas spirit

Remembering how streets came together earlier in the year to clap for carers, Ben began to wonder if the same communities could come together for a synchronised Christmas carol sing-a-long.

“For many years I was lucky enough to work in local pubs and libraries and witnessed first-hand how well Bedford can come together and celebrate,” he said.

“I also realised there are many people that for all sorts of reasons didn’t have the chance to feel included, but perhaps this year they can.

“I thought how wonderful it might be to create a community moment once a year where everyone can feel part of a local celebration that costs nothing and is really easy to join in with.

“There are plenty of well-known carols such as Jingle Bells, We Wish you a Merry Christmas, and Deck the Halls that aren’t tied to a particular religion so hopefully this could be as inclusive as possible and something people of all ages can take part in.”

Doorstep Carols is planned to take place at 6pm on Christmas Eve and Ben has partnered with the Bedford Independent to encourage as many streets, villages and neighbourhoods to take part.

All you have to do is email doorstepcarols@outlook.com to register your street and you’ll be sent all the info to run your local, Covid-safe, socially-distanced carol sing-a-long in your street.

In the run-up to Christmas, the Bedford Independent will be reporting on the number of streets that have signed up, so make sure you’re part of it to ensure you get a shout-out.

Make sure you take some photos and videos on Christmas Eve too, and post them on social media using the tag #doorstepcarolsbedford so we can share them too.

“To me, Doorstep Carols sums up the brilliant community spirit in Bedford,” said Ben. “I’m hoping that lots of streets get behind the idea and people have the chance to get together safely for some festive cheer.”

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