Covid: Llangollen 'Pimm's and Hymns' reaches Brazil

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image copyrightAndrei Daniel/PA Wire
image captionFather Lee Taylor said people have "really missed communal singing"

Online "Pimm's and Hymns" singalong sessions at a north Wales church have attracted people from as far away as South Africa, Brazil and Canada.

Father Lee Taylor, from St Collen's Church, Llangollen, set up the Facebook Live shows when his pews fell silent due to Covid restrictions.

The former bartender said: "People started to share it and the online audience just exploded."

It adds "a real light in the darkness" of lockdown and a "few drinks".

The sessions, which have been running since last March, are a homage to the summer garden party known as 'Pimm's and Hymns' Mr Taylor, 43, hosts each year.

"I get phone calls, emails and letters from people all over the world, saying, 'You've lifted my spirits', and asking me to pray for their loved ones who are sick with the virus," he said.

"I started the sessions as I was trying to think of ways to bring comfort reassurance and cheer to people at home.

"While I can't hear people joining in, I feel them there with me in the room."

image copyrightAndrei Daniel/PA Wire
image captionFather Lee Taylor hosted annual 'Pimm's and Hymns' garden parties before Covid restrictions came in last March

Belting out everything from Abide With Me to Pack Up Your Troubles, the vicar, who lives with his partner of 14 years, Fabiano Duarte, is known for pouring a glass of wine or a cocktail before performing for his Facebook congregation.

"I like to keep a libation on the piano," he said.

"When we started, people tuning in could see a glass of wine one week and a gin and tonic the next, so began to join in and have a drink with me.

"Soon, this became a discussion in the Facebook comments and people would send in photos of themselves with a tipple, singing along.

"I've got a bit carried away on the piano after a few drinks and played all the wrong notes a couple of times - which is always quite funny. It's joyful, really."

He said "losing the churches and restricting the number at funerals" was painful and people were "missing communal singing".

"[So] I got some elderly people set up on the internet and sent out instructions via email, so they could watch the live stream singalongs," he said.

"People were soon chatting through the comments and it felt like we were all connected.

"I wanted to raise spirits through music and it's been a real light in the darkness."

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