For many St Martin’s annual Christmas Appeal is as familiar as mince pies and crackers. Over its long history, millions of pounds have been raised and thousands have regularly tuned in to listen to the annual appeal given by the Vicar of St Martin’s. Its continued presence on the airwaves has made it a much-loved tradition and a favourite among many.

The origins of the Christmas Appeal or ‘Christmas Fund’, can be traced back to the end of the First World War and the pioneering work of Dick Sheppard. It was he who first recognised that there was a need to help those who had fallen on hard times after the War. Consequently, he sought to collect funds which could be directly distributed to families and individuals during the festive season, leading to the creation of the Christmas Appeal.

This year the BBC will broadcast the 93rd Radio 4 Christmas Appeal with St Martin-in-the-Fields. Our theme is Home Starts Here. Many people, for many reasons, find themselves a long way from home. Their journey home can start anytime and anywhere. It can start with a cup of tea. It can start with a chat. Someone listening. It can start with someone understanding, making a plan and promising to be there. The journey of someone experiencing homelessness can be long, but for many the journey home starts here at St Martin’s, through the generosity of the thousands who support our work.

Tim Bissett
Director – BBC Radio 4 Christmas Appeal
with St Martin-in-the-Fields