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km_shield_lgAssociation of Polish Knights of Malta UK

Carol of the Bells: A Polish Christmas Night 2012


On Wednesday, 19th December 2012 the annual performance of Carol of the Bells: A Polish Christmas Night was held at the RAF St Clement Danes Church. With guest readers including Sophie Thompson.  Special guests of honour were HE the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland, our President; the Earl of St Andrews, our Patron; Field Marshal The Lord Guthrie and Greg Hands MP. London's leading Polish choir Ave Verum and  Soloist Natalie Coyle performed a programme of traditional Christmas works in Polish and English in the majestic St Clement Danes Church.  Organised by the APKM volunteers this special performance is in aid of the Poznań oncology clinic.


Knights of Malta Welcome Speech of the Ambassador of Poland HE Mr Witold Sobków


HE Mr Witold SobkowHE Mr Witold SobkówDistinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good evening.

I am delighted to be here with you this evening and to address you as Patron of this wonderful annual event.

I would like to begin by extending personal words of thanks to The Polish Order of Malta Volunteers, with its President, the Earl of St Andrews and its Patron Field Marshall Lord Charles Guthrie and its Chair, Mrs Joanna Meeson, for all dedication and effort that has been put into planning this beautiful evening.  Although I spent many years in different countries, including the United Kingdom, it always warms my heart to see Polish Christmas customs cultivated, remembered and genuinely cared for–especially in the heart of the busy city like London. It is particularly moving to see those who live here showcasing their heritage and culture with such pride and joy.

During this special Christmas season, when not all of us may have the opportunity to go back home to see our families, special evenings like these bring us together in an important way and take us away from the busy chaos outside, encouraging us to pause for a moment and reflect on matters which are most important in our lives.

The Polish Order of Malta Volunteers is a beacon that contributes to the flourishing, strengthening and development of Polish-British relations. As the Polish Ambassador to the UK, I would like to express my sincere appreciation and admiration for all your hard work. This evening is a fitting tribute to this cause which is one that is close to the hearts of many gathered here today, specifically supporting the Order of Malta Medical Centre in Poznań, Poland.

The church in which we are today encapsulates key moments of the history shared by both Britain and Poland. You will find here, for instance, the Polish Airforce memorial plaque, honouring the Polish airmen and squadrons who fought in the defence of the United Kingdom and the liberation of Europe in World War II  during the Battle of Britain.

This plaque was unveiled by Poland’s General Władysław Anders and is an important reminder of the relationship that was shared by our countries back then, the freedom we were unwilling to give up. This relationship, although now placed in a different context, is very much alive today–our history is in the making today, and we remain allies and friends.

This evening we come together with a shared history, a joint present and the hope of a fruitful future. This relationship stands strong and will remain so–Poles have resided in the UK for decades and feel very much a part of the British society, contributing at all levels, in different roles and in a variety of ways. We feel a strong and genuine connection with Britain, and we hope for continuous co-operation in future.

Embassy of the Republic of POland in LondonTonight, I am delighted to see our Christmas traditions coming together as one, and that we are able to come together to reflect upon the times we have shared together, the joint co-operation that bonds us so closely today–and to take a step back and enjoy the wonderful Christmas season.

It is my great joy and honour to be with you here this evening. Let me wish each and every one of you and your families a very happy and peaceful time of Christmas celebrations and much joy in the coming year 2013.

Thank you.


Knights of Malta Carol of the Bells 2012 gallery