THE soothing sounds of The Parkinsingers rang through Christ Church for the third annual Christmas concert in aid of Parkinsons' Uk.

A star-studded programme saw singers from the charity's Oxford branch joined by comedy writer Paul Mayhew-Archer, journalist and Have I Got News for You presenter Ian Hislop and impressionist Rory Bremner.

The event was staged on Sunday evening in the beautiful college setting, courtesy of the Sub-Dean of Christ Church Edmund Newey, and hoped to raise funds and awareness for Parkinson's research.

Mr Mayhew-Archer, from Abingdon, was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2011, he said: "I found it all very moving that people have come along to help us like this.

"Occasionally with these sorts of things which are for people with illnesses they sit them in a corner to watch but although its a horrible disease this concert shows you can still do things.

"My own therapy is laughter and I always look at the funny side which I think is very important.

"If you can do what you can to keep busy and active, my way is humour but others it might be sport or for some people its singing."

The comedy writer, whose work includes The Vicar of Dibley, made a speech about the funny side of Parkinson’s alongside other stars.

Christ Church Cathedral proved the perfect backdrop to the event which also included a specially-adapted song from composer Howard Goodall, children's poet John Foster and a performance from musicians Clemmie Franks and Tom Poster.

The night was rounded off with a special carol by West Oxfordshire based composer Bob Chilcott, who most recently has worked with Katie Melua, titled The Angel did Fly.

It features the words of poet Charles Bennett and was written especially to be performed at the concert, dedicated to Parkinson's UK and Paul Mayhew-Archer.

Parkinson's UK Oxford branch chairwoman Sally Bromley said: "It is the third year we have put on this concert and this year is at a very special place as a donation from the sub-dean of Christ Church Edmund Newey.

"There has been an amazing support from everyone involved and it is all about raising awareness about the condition and what it is like to live with it.

"Additionally it is about raising funds to go towards research to help find a cure.

"As a group we meet on the first Wednesday of the month and the WI hall in North Hinksey Lane and we try to keep it upbeat and positive.

"Some people say it is the one thing that lifts them up for the month which is very humbling to hear."

The charity branch in Oxford support people with Parkinson's and includes the recently formed choir the Parkinsingers who performed on Sunday.

Choir member Colin Walters, from Abingdon, said: "I go to the physio and music sessions every Friday morning at Botley WI.

"One problem is my voice, sometimes it goes a bit woolly so the singing helps."

The concert performed to an audience of more than 600 people and all its funds raised will go towards Oxford's Parkinson's Disease Centre.