A long-serving children’s hospice caretaker has spoken of his “exceptional, magical and unforgettable” evening after being nominated to attend The Princess of Wales’ carol service at Westminster Abbey.
Angelo Ragucci was put forward by East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) as recognition for his tireless efforts at The Treehouse, in Ipswich.
He has worked for the organisation for 12 years and attended the service with wife Ginny, who runs a church parent and toddler group, on Friday evening.
The annual service, called Royal Carols: Together at Christmas, recognises the selfless efforts of communities throughout the UK, highlighting the importance of coming together to support one another. This year, the service was a heartfelt thank you to those supporting our youngest children during those crucial early years. It will be shown on ITV1 at 7.45pm on Christmas Eve.
“The evening was exceptional – magical if you like,” said Angelo.
“I couldn’t believe it when I found out we were going. There were people from all different backgrounds in the congregation, from famous people to ordinary workers like myself.
“It was a honour to be there and share the experience with them. We had such a wonderful evening and were so grateful to have been given the opportunity.
“Ginny and myself felt blessed and it really did make for an early but unforgettable Christmas present.”
The Princess of Wales is EACH’s Royal Patron and the organisation was able to nominate others to attend her Westminster Abbey service.
Angelo and his wife were joined by music therapist Ray Travasso and Paul, Claire, Henry and George Barnard – a family who receive care and support at The Treehouse.
Henry, ten, has Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), which is a genetic condition that causes muscle weakness.
The talented brothers teamed up with Ray to star at last week’s Happy Christmas Ipswich 4 show, at the town’s Regent theatre.
After their performance, the audience got to watch a short, specially-commissioned film about their music therapy and experiences with EACH.
The comedy and music spectacular, organised by Griff Rhys Jones, raised a staggering £133,200.
Royal Carols: Together at Christmas saw the Westminster Abbey choir perform some of the nation’s most loved carols, alongside musical performances by guests including Jacob Collier, Freya Ridings and James Bay, in addition to a special duet from Beverley Knight and Adam Lambert.
There were also poignant readings by speakers including Prince William, Emma Willis, Roman Kemp, Jim Broadbent, Micheal Ward and Leonie Elliott.