Marking the Christmas truce in Rugby

Harris School pupils Ben Bull and Chris Price in German and British uniforms
Harris School pupils Ben Bull and Chris Price in German and British uniforms

Next month’s commemoration of the centennial anniversary of the First World War Christmas Truce promises to bring the whole town together.

The Silent Night Carol Service will take place at Rugby Town FC’s Butlin Road ground on Sunday December 7, and a number of individuals and organisations will participate in the service – which is scheduled to kick-off at 4pm.

The event is themed around the 1914 temporary ceasefire in which front-line troops from both sides downed arms to sing carols and play football together. It will include readings from Rugby MP Mark Pawsey and ex-professional referee and club chaplain the Rev Ken Baker.

Roy Crowne, the national director of Christian charity Hope, will also address the congregation, and there will be a performance by Harris School drama students of War Song from the show The Hired Man, based on Melvyn Bragg’s best-selling book.

Musical accompaniment will be provided by the Jaguar Land Rover Band, a championship-winning brass and percussion ensemble that have performed around the UK and also toured internationally.

The Rugby Male Voice Choir will also play a central role in leading the congregation in a number of popular carols and hymns.

The choir celebrated their 70th anniversary earlier this year with a concert at St Andrew’s church.

The order of service is being co-ordinated by Bilton Evangelical Church’s Robin Kemp.

He said: “We’ve put together a dramatic, entertaining and yet emotional series of items to mark this historic occasion.

“The event will start with an explosion of noise to signify the sound of the battlefield, before moving straight into a special rendition of the Silent Night core carol.

“Whilst the service has been organised to recognise the events of a hundred years ago, it‘s hoped that we can go on and make it an annual feature of the town’s calendar in the future.”

Many churches in and around the town are postponing their services on the day in support of this free-to-attend event.

A youth football tournament will precede the carol service on the ground’s all-weather pitch.