Songs, Sleep-In and Service to celebrate our 50th Anniversary

Last Friday, our first ever Sponsored Sleep-In saw over 40 sleepers bedding down in the crypt at Christ Church Spitalfields – the place where SCT first started back in 1965.

Along with 6 SCT staff and Trustees, they raised over £18,000, smashing the fundraising target for the event in their sleep!

A big thank you to all the participants - a great bunch made up of existing and new supporters.

"I really enjoyed the fundraising aspect and raising awareness. I thought it would be really lovely opportunity to think about other people and raise some money for charity to help them with this incredible work that they are doing.”
Linda, Sponsored Sleeper.

The atmosphere was amazing: live harp music played by volunteer Lili welcomed sleepers to the crypt. There they were entertained by stories from Alan Gilbey author of East End Back Passages, and Stefan Dickers archives manager of the Bishopsgate Institute collection. Music and art by Cerys Hogg and Dan Jones were also in the mix.

To crown the event our special VIP was HRH Princess Alexandra, who lifted the atmosphere by warmly greeting the participants.

Princess Alexandra even bought some chopping boards from our stall displaying the new ‘Branded Collection’ from Restoration Station 

These were prepared especially for the event as Christmas gifts, and are now on sale in our Restoration Station social enterprise on Shoreditch High Street.

The Princess has been a long-term supporter of SCT and opened the crypt back in 1965.

“Princess Alexandra came back for our 10th anniversary, our 25th and our 40th. You are here again today and we really are grateful for your fantastic generosity and your time. Thank you for sticking with us over 50 years.”
Graham Marshall, CEO of SCT.

The event was well covered by the media:

Micky, our current night warden at Acorn House spoke about his experience of SCT’s help at the Sleep-In:

“I had a long term alcohol problem. When I came here, they gave me treatment, they gave me counselling and they gave me a real start, so I owe everything to SCT,” he said. 

“Tonight is coming back to where I started – it’s a bit overwhelming.

I remember where I slept, I remember the therapy and I’ve been talking to two chaps that I was staying with. But it’s all good memories.”

“I had a long term alcohol problem. When I came here, they gave me treatment, they gave me counselling and they gave me a real start, so I owe everything to SCT."
Micky Pickles, former SCTresident.

Just before the Sleep-In, over 150 singers from 7 London choirs sang ‘Lean on Me’ and other songs at Spitalfields Market before proceeding to the steps at Christ Church. 

This ‘flashmob’ was full of emotion and made some of our staff weep.  A huge thank you to all the choirs that took part which included:

The A&O Singers; The Canary Wharf Choir; CHAPS choir; Voiceworks (our very own New Hanbury Project choir), Owl Parliament and 3 choirs from Starling Arts.

“All the Starling choirs had a blast and enjoyed every aspect of the event. Thank you for including us!”

On the Saturday morning, over 70 people joined some of the sleepers for a Celebratory Service of Thanksgiving in Christ Church led by the Bishop of Stepney, Adrian Newman.

The Bishop called SCT  ‘pioneers’ for the way we work with people.  An amazing full 3 hour peal of bell ringing ended the Service.

The Bishop called SCT  ‘pioneers’ for the way we work with people.

A new way of ringing was undertaken and was called “Spitalfields Crypt Trust Surprise Major”, especially to commemorate the 50th anniversary of SCT.

“The singing was really joyful – the whole of Spitalfields Market seemed to be joining in! I was geared up for the Sleep-In but never expected it to be so entertaining, and so moving to think of the people who had slept in the crypt over the years.

Altogether a very special and special celebration.” 

“The singing was really joyful – the whole of Spitalfields Market seemed to be joining in! 
Caroline Clark, Assistant Director, SCT

 

We wish to thank the following people for making the night and day so unique:

  • HRH Princess Alexandra
  • Councillor Mohammed Mukit, Speaker of Tower Hamlets
  • Deputy Lieutenant Matthew John McK Ludgate
  • Rector Andy Rider and Reverend Phil Williams of Christ Church Spitalfields
  • Georgina, Ray and Xavier from Spitalfields Market
  • Storytellers: Alan Gilbey, Stefan Dickers, Toni Davey; Cerys Hogg and Dan Jones
  • Speakers: Irene, Steve and Derek Stride; Micky Pickles, Paul Burke and Robert McSorley
  • Filming, photography and writing: Isabelle Ohlson, Jean-Christian Larche, Vicki Flores and Michele Kirsch and Aimee McLaughlin
  • Volunteers: Lili and Fe; Bea, Paz and Michael
  • Guests and founders of the Hanbury Project : Hilary Garraway, Michael Sheldon and Janet Rourke
  • Our Creative Writing students and tutor, Margaret Schumann, from the New Hanbury Project
  • Eleanor Rusbridge, our New Hanbury Project Choir tutor and the choir students
  • Our generous donors of food and drink: Pret A Manger and Fentimans Botanical Drinks
  • British Airways for their donations of sleeping masks and socks

Thank you to Vicki Flores and Isabelle Ohlson for the use of their fantastic photographs.

Read more about what we do

Read about our 50th anniversary

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