A SPECIAL event has been held to celebrate the launch of the Christchurch Living Advent Calendar (CLAC).

Organisers and elected leaders gathered together to mark its well-awaited return to the town.

Running between December 1 and 24, CLAC is a free-to-attend event which is organised annually by Christchurch Rotary Club.

It sees a performance by a Dorset artist or group every evening – to mark each ‘door’ of the calendar being opened – with each performance taking place at a different location in Christchurch.

The venues and supported charities are advertised in advance, but the identity of the performer is not revealed until the day of the event, just as in a children’s advent calendar.

To mark CLAC’s return, a launch event was held at the Kings Arms Hotel on October 18.

Guests were made welcome in the priory suite, where Christchurch Rotary President Peter Boardman introduced the chair of the CLAC organising team, Rotarian Jan Banks.

Jan outlined the origins of the Living Advent Calendar concept, and noted the success of the first two CLAC events in 2020 and 2021.

Rotarian Mike Wood then spoke about the 24 charities set to benefit from the event, before CLAC team member Meisje Weldon showed a video highlighting the variety of CLAC events last December.

Cllr. Lesley Dedman, chairman of the BCP Council, said that she was “amazed” at the amount of money CLAC raised, and also at the amount of effort put in each year to organise an event of this size.

She added she had seen from social media just how much CLAC is “appreciated in the community”, and thanked everyone involved.

Cllr Mrs Viv Charrett, the Mayor of Christchurch, also took time to thank those involved in setting up this year’s CLAC.

All funding for the event is provided by sponsorship from local businesses, and the entertainment and venues are provided free of charge.

Collections will be made throughout the event, and raffle tickets sold, with the proceeds going directly to charities in the area.

To date, CLAC has helped to raise more than £41,000.