IT will the end of an era this November as a star-studded line-up appears at Chester Cathedral for the final Spirit of Christmas event.

For many in Cheshire, The Spirit of Christmas at Chester Cathedral has signalled the start of Christmas for 27 years.

This spectacular event has seen an array of popular television and film actors take to the stage to perform festive readings and songs.

And while it'll be the last, it certainly won't be the least for the event on Friday, November 24, in aid of the Neuromuscular Centre (NMC) in Winsford.

The concert is hosted by Matthew Kelly of Stars in Their Eyes fame, who has been NMC’s president for a whopping 33 years.

He and his wife Sarah Kelly, co-founder of NMC, have been involved with Spirit of Christmas since the start and continue to be long after Sarah’s retirement in 2005, for which organisers can’t thank them enough.

A spokesperson for NMC said: "Although the time has come to allow Sarah a proper retirement, we know that they will both remain huge supporters of the Centre, which provides a range of unique, specialist services to people with muscular dystrophy and their families.

"Matthew brings along his friends from stage and screen, and we’re very excited to announce that Rob James-Collier and Samantha Bond have joined the cast, both of whom are currently starring in The Inheritence (2023) for Channel 5.

"Rob is also known for playing Thomas Barrow in Downton Abbey and Liam Connor in Coronation Street. Samantha is a very familiar face, having played the iconic Miss Moneypenny in the James Bond franchise, Lady Rosamund in Downton Abbey and starring in 4-time BAFTA nominated comedy Outnumbered.

"Joining them will be our vice-president Jim Carter! Jim is best known for playing Mr Carson the Butler in Downton Abbey, a role that earned him four nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.

"His film credits include Transformers: The Last Knight (2017) and Shakespeare in Love (1998), and he has performed extensively in theatre where he met his wife, Imelda Staunton, who is also performing at The Final Spirit of Christmas.

"Imelda has won four Lawrence Olivier awards for her work in theatre, and she’s best known on screen for her roles as Professor Umbridge in the Harry Potter franchise and as Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown.

"All are delighted to be joining Matthew Kelly at Chester Cathedral this year, and we are very grateful to all our performers who give up their time for free to support this wonderful cause. More names to be announced soon!"

Matthew Kelly, on the NMC website, said: "Dear friends, we are so grateful to have enjoyed almost 30 years of our Spirit of Christmas carol concert, raising funds for the incredible NeuroMuscular Centre which supports hundreds of people and their families affected by neuromuscular conditions.

"As President of this amazing charity, I’m so proud of all we have achieved in this time, making such a difference to so many across Cheshire and beyond.

"All good things must come to an end, so I wanted to invite you to a very special occasion, our Final Spirit of Christmas.

"Please join us for one more wonderful night at Chester Cathedral on Friday, November 24 and support a fantastic event for a wonderful charity."

Tickets are selling quickly for The Spirit of Christmas. To book, call 01606 861733 or visit