Celebration at the Seasonal Concert

  • 09 Feb 2024

The Guild of St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital rounded off the year with the success of its inaugural seasonal concert at The Priory Church of the Order of St John, nestled in the heart of London’s St John’s Square.

The Guild, who have been fundraising for the hospital for nearly one hundred years, had been planning the event months before the war broke out in Israel-Gaza in October.

Quintin Beer, the Director of Music at St Peter’s College Oxford led the evening’s entertainment alongside his choir from St Cuthberts, Earls Court, providing an evening of wonderful music.

Actress and staunch supporter of the Hospital, Dame Vanessa Redgrave DBE delivered a stirring rendition of Christina Rossetti’s “In the Bleak Midwinter, complimented by readings from The Lord Prior, Professor Mark Compton AM GCStJ, Miss Denise Magauran FRCS FRCOphth, the War-Artist, Arabella Dorman, Jerome Fernando, St John Ambulance Cadet of the Year, London, and Miss Elizabeth Hawkes FRCOphth Consultant Ophthalmologist & Oculoplastic surgeon.

Mr David Verity MD MA FRCOphth, Hospitaller of the Order of St John, spoke about the history of the hospital and the significance of its work in light of the increasingly dire humanitarian situation in Gaza.

Sarah-Jane Holden, Chairman of the Guild, said: “It was an enchanting evening enabling us to reflect on the three faiths associated with the Hospital and the common ethos which stretches back over a thousand years and lies at the heart of the Orders of St John – treating patients regardless of ethnicity, religion or ability to pay”.

Sir Andrew Cash OBE KStJ, Chairman of the Hospital, expressed his thanks to the concert’s organisers: “Thank you all for your tireless efforts in orchestrating an unforgettable evening that echoes the spirit of compassion and unity which lies at the heart of our hospital’s mission.”

Through ticket sales and a silent online auction, the event raised over £20,000 towards the costs of nurses’ uniforms in Gaza.