Christmas carols by Royal invitation

Posted on Tuesday 20th December 2022

Staff and patients at Evelina London Children’s Hospital attended a festive carol service at Westminster Abbey hosted by The Princess of Wales, Evelina London Children’s Hospital’s Royal Patron. 

Two members of staff, four patients and four family members attended the special Christmas event, which was held on Thursday 15 December, and will be broadcast on ITV1 at 7pm on Christmas Eve.

Nine-year-old Minnie Sundt, from West Norwood, has been attending the specialist children’s hospital every five weeks for blood transfusions since she was born. Minnie has a rare condition called pyruvate kinase deficiency, where her red blood cells break down faster than normal. She is also under the care of the expert hearing implant centre, having had cochlear implants when she was just two and a half, and earlier in summer this year.

Her mum Emma, said: “We were thrilled to be invited to Westminster Abbey for the carol service with The Princess of Wales. It was such a lovely festive occasion, and Minnie was so excited when she saw so many members of the Royal Family, including Princess Charlotte and Prince George! We’ve never been to Westminster Abbey before, and it was an amazing, unforgettable experience.”

Dana Aryan-Warren, paediatric palliative care coordinator, and Lucy Harnett, a newly qualified nurse in children’s surgery, theatres and anaesthesia, were nominated to join the Christmas service in recognition of their outstanding work in caring for children, young people and families.

Paediatric palliative care coordinator Dana Aryan-Warren said: “I was so excited and extremely honoured to be invited to the carol service at Westminster Abbey in recognition of my work in supporting families of children undergoing palliative care. The carol service was a phenomenal once-in-a-lifetime experience that I will never forget. With front row seats, so close to the choir I honestly felt totally immersed and extremely festive!”

The yuletide celebrations recognised those who went above and beyond to help others who faced a challenging time across the past year, and commemorated a lifetime of service by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Sara Hanna, Interim Chief Executive at Evelina London Children’s Hospital, said: “We’re so grateful to The Princess of Wales for inviting some of our children and their families, and members of staff to join a special carol concert at Westminster Abbey to mark the festive period. Our teams provide exceptional care to our patients and families, and being able to recognise their dedication at this time of year is really special.”

The Princess of Wales was joined by other members of the Royal Family for the festive celebrations including Their Majesties The King and Queen Consort, and The Prince of Wales.  

The Princess of Wales became the Royal Patron of Evelina London Children’s Hospital in December 2018.