A remarkable act of hope and reflection took place at Durham Cathedral to commemorate those in the North East who suffer or have died from addiction this Christmas.
The Right Revd Mark Bryant, invited a small number of people from the addiction recovery community in the North East to join him in a simple act of remembrance today Monday 15th December. Also among those invited was singer-songwriter Henry Maybury, who lost his brother Tom to alcohol addiction more than a year ago and is preparing for his second Christmas without him.
The event was supported by the Recovery Choir, which is made up of recovering addicts from the NHS-funded Recovery Academy in Peterlee, east Durham.
The event is the latest example of a strengthening link between the Anglican Diocese of Durham and the region’s community of those recovering from addictions including alcohol and drugs.
Several weeks ago, Bishop Mark, and Lord Lieutenant of Durham Sue Snowdon visited the Academy, which helps recovering drug and alcohol addicts.
That visit followed a service held at Durham Cathedral in the Autumn for recovering addicts, something that has now been repeated in a simple act of remembrance ahead of Christmas.
Henry Maybury, from Shrewsbury who was also involved in the Autumn Cathedral service, said: “This is such a big time of year and so close to my heart.
“Being able to perform this act of remembrance for my brother is great, lighting a candle for him in a place that has such a presence. It feels like I am keeping part of him alive, being able to go that tree and remember him.”
Bishop Mark, who invited Henry to light the candle, said: “Christmas is often a reflective time of year when we gather with family and are most aware of people who are not there, people who have died, people for whom life is difficult and who cannot be with their family.
“Events like this remind us that there is hope. The Recovery Choir are people who are discovering hope. Many have gone to places where they thought there was no hope. We hope that Christmas is a story of a new beginning.”
Dot Turton, Academy Manager, said: “The members of the Recovery Choir feel really privileged to have performed at this during this remembrance event here in the Cathedral. The building is a very special place for them. They often sit in it as a place of sanctuary. This is their way of giving something back, offering people hope that you can recover.“
During the remembrance event, Henry sang his song ‘Lost Days’ which was itself penned as an act of remembrance to his brother Tom. The Recovery Choir also sang ‘let it be’ and a single candle was lit by Henry to complete the act of remembrance.
On February 22nd 2013, Henry Maybury lost his 29 year-old brother Tom to alcohol addiction after a battle lasting several years.
Recognising that multiple charities and support groups had helped Tom, Henry wanted to give something back by giving 100% of the proceeds from the sale of “Lost Days” to charity.
But rather than give the money to a single charity, the Lost Days Charitable Trust was set up and is governed by a special committee, elected to allocate the funds to multiple Addiction and Recovery charities globally.