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Monday, 26 November, 2001, 12:20 GMT
Carol services to 'reclaim' Christmas
Kevin Keegan sings in the advertisement
Kevin Keegan is one of many stars in the advertisement
Campaigners who want to stop the increasing commercialism of Christmas have launched a 200,000 advertising campaign to get their message across.

The Manchester-based Campaign for Real Christmas unveiled the "Sing Your Hearts Out For the Lad" television advert in the city on Monday.

Manchester City manager Kevin Keegan, athlete Diane Modahl, rugby star Apollo Perelini all appear in the video.

More than 150 local churches throughout Greater Manchester, including all the leading denominations, are partners in the initiative.

With a unique, highly-visible campaign supporting them, we hope church members will take full advantage of this new initiative

Tony Porter, Campaign for Real Christmas

Campaign spokesman Jeff Turner said they would "take on the world of commercialism and excess in its own backyard".

He said: "The advertisement encourages people to attend a Christmas carol service at a local church and 'sing their hearts out for the lad'."

"Attending carol services is not perceived as a committedly religious act, merely part of what makes Christmas, Christmas.

"Through this initiative the church is taking advantage of its own inheritance."

The television advertisement will be seen for the first time, in the Granada region only, on 26 November.

Another 50 transmissions are scheduled until 16 December.

Personal invitations

The television advertising is part of a 200,000 promotion, paid by charitable trusts and individuals, which also includes advertising on radio and billboards, running concurrently, throughout Greater Manchester.

A quarter-of-a-million personal invitations have been printed for church members to use to invite friends, family and work colleagues to their own services.

The Reverend Tony Porter, chair of Campaign for Real Christmas, said: "Our pre-campaign research showed the majority of non-churchgoers wouldn't go into a church on their own for very simple reasons.

"One example is in case they sat in someone else's pew.

"But they would be tempted to go to a carol service if invited to do so by a friend.

"With a unique, highly-visible campaign supporting them, we hope church members will take full advantage of this new initiative".

Click here to go to Manchester
See also:

22 Nov 01 | England
Clergyman calls for Christmas ban
17 Nov 01 | England
Church plan to 'reclaim' Christmas
10 Dec 00 | UK
Christmas creche for men
30 Nov 00 | Middle East
Bethlehem cancels Christmas
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