A CELEBRATION of the countryside is being staged by he Countryside Alliance at Pershore Abbey on Tuesday, December 18, with Carols for our Countryside.

"The last decade has been a turbulent time for rural communities and 2007 has been no better with the agricultural industry being blighted by flooding, foot and mouth disease, Blue Tongue and bird flu," said Clare Rowson, of the Countryside Alliance.

"Despite the challenges thrown up to our rural communities, country people remain resolute and determined and this carol service will give hope to those who have suffered in recent years and provide an opportunity to celebrate the countryside as we know and love it."

Simon Hart, chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, will open the service which will be taken by Rural Chaplain, the Rev Robert Barlow. David Price, field officer for the CLA, Paul Fardon, chairman of Pershore and Upton NFU, Bill Jones, chairman of the Croome and West Warwickshire Foxhounds, and Elizabeth Collins, Farm Crisis Network, will give readings throughout the evening.

Audrey Steel, Worcestershire county chairman for the Countryside Alliance, said: "A carol service to celebrate the riches of our countryside at Christmas is a wonderful opportunity. The countryside is about communities and the people in them so what better was to reflect on what we have, to give hope to those in crisis and to look to the future positively than by getting together during the festive season."

She added: "We hope that everyone will join us to celebrate the wonderful countryside and rural communities we love so much."

There will be a collection for the Countryside Alliance and Addington Fund and refreshments will be available for a donation of £5 a head.