Follow The Stars Christmas Carol Concert For Macmillan

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A stellar cast including Joanna Lumley and Alexander Armstrong are giving their support to a much-loved Christmas carol concert as it goes online for the first time. Follow The Stars aims to raise much-needed funds for Macmillan Cancer Support.

A host of A-list celebrities and renowned musicians are joining forces for the event. All funds raised will be used by Macmillan to provide vital support to people with cancer, who need it now more than ever.

Stephen Fry. Photo: Private collection

Household names including Joanna Lumley, Stephen Fry, Jeremy Irons, Sinead Cusack, Greg Wise, Alexander Armstrong and Benjamin Zephaniah are all taking part in the event, delivering seasonal readings and poetry, many from their own homes.

Musical performances from Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, will include world leading baritones Roderick Williams and Christopher Purves as well as the Oxford Bach Soloists directed by Tom Hammond-Davies. Alexander Armstrong’s son and New College chorister, Paddy Armstrong, will also perform during the concert.

Free to stream for 21 days

The concert will premiere online on Friday, December 11 at 8pm and will be available to view until December 31.

Filmed in a number of locations including Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, this year’s concert will be hosted online for the first time in its 24-year history. The link to the live stream is on the Macmillan website.

The concert will be free to stream, with viewers invited to make a donation to Macmillan Cancer Support. All funds raised will be used by Macmillan to provide vital support to people with cancer, who need it now more than ever.

Joanna Lumley is an enthusiastic supporter. Photo: Giles Harvey

  • £10 could help run our vital phone service for cancer patients. It could lead to the welfare rights advisers on our Macmillan Support Line helping people affected by cancer to claim £396 in benefits they are entitled to.
  • £31 could pay for a Macmillan nurse for one hour. This helps people living with cancer and their families receive essential medical, practical and emotional support.
  • £60 could pay for a Macmillan Grant for a good quality liquidiser. This would help someone who can’t eat solid food as a result of their cancer or treatment.
  • £100 could pay for a person affected by cancer to attend a Health and Wellbeing event. This will provide them with skills to improve the management of these areas in their lives.
  • £150 could pay for a Macmillan Grant to buy new clothes for someone experiencing a change in weight or body shape while undergoing cancer treatment. This would help them feel better about the way they look.

As well as raising vital funds for Macmillan, this year’s concert will also allow households to enjoy some festive cheer and get into the Christmas spirit during this time of social distancing.

24 years of carols for Macmillan

Oxford Bach Soloists director Tom Hammond-Davis. Photo: Steve Roche

A Celebration of Christmas is an annual festive event held at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford. Its aim is to provide focus on the extraordinary tradition of choral music in the UK presented in a magisterial setting, and supported by a changing cast of actors, poets, singers and celebrities.

Over the last 24 years it has raised £250,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support.

This year, the committee decided to take a leap of faith and move the event online. They called it Follow The Stars – a recreation of the magic and warmth of Christmas celebrations in Christ Church Cathedral, but for an online audience.

Macmillan Cancer Support are doing everything they can to help people living with cancer.

  • Need information, support or just someone to talk to? Call 0808 808 00 00 or visit
  • To donate, fundraise or volunteer, call 0300 1000 200 or visit