Salvation Army to serve 1,000 hot drinks at London Christmas tree lighting ceremony

published on 3 Feb 2019

A Salvation Army band will play carols while volunteers hand out hot chocolate and snacks, at London’s famous Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Trafalgar Square, London this evening (Thursday, 5 December).

Regent Hall Salvation Army band will accompany the carols at the event which includes classics such as Hark the Herald Angels Sing and While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night.

Salvation Army volunteers will serve 1,000 drinks and give out biscuits from one of its North London Division Incident Response Vehicles to massing crowds who brave the cold weather to watch the Christmas lights switch-on. As well as supporting at key national events, Salvation Army incident response vehicles attend emergencies, supporting 999 service personnel with a listening ear and hot food and drink, as they deal with significant incidents. 

It is the 12th year The Salvation Army has been at the event. While the refreshments are free, people can make a voluntary donation to The Salvation Army’s Christmas Appeal, which supports vital work helping homeless people and families living in poverty.

Lieut-Colonel David Shakespeare, Divisional Commander for The Salvation Army's North London Division, said: "It is an honour for The Salvation Army to take part in the annual lighting ceremony at Trafalgar Square, and to help spread some Christmas joy and love to those coming to see the world's most famous Christmas tree."

By tradition, the tree is donated by Oslo to the people of London for their help and support during the Second World War.  The Agency for Urban Environment at the City of Oslo (Bymiljøetaten) is responsible for providing the Christmas tree to London.  The Christmas tree is usually a Norwegian spruce over 20 metres tall and 50-60 years old. The tree is decorated in a traditional Norwegian style with vertical strings of lights – around 900 energy-efficient light bulbs are used, a total of 400 metres of cable.