WHEN Lily Clayton stepped forward to sing solo at York’s Community Carol Concert just before Christmas, she brought the house down.

So it was only appropriate that she was chosen to present a cheque for £2,000 yesterday from the proceeds of the concert to the City of York Afghanistan Commemorative Appeal.

Lily, eight, of Wigginton, a pupil at Headlands Primary School, Haxby, was nominated by her older brother James – by prior agreement – when musical director John Warburton asked for a volunteer to sing Away In A Manger solo during the sell-out concert at the Barbican in December. She entranced the audience of 1,400 people, who gave her a massive round of applause.

Mr Warburton said at the time that Lily had been his “saviour” when he was looking for someone who knew the words and could sing them. He said: “She sang to the microphone as if she had been doing it for years.”

Concert organiser Graham Bradbury said yesterday: “She was word perfect and pitch perfect.”

Lily’s mother Sue said: “She is normally very reserved. I was very proud of her.”

Mr Bradbury said the concert raised a total of £4,500, with another £2,000 going to the Lord Mayor’s Christmas Cheer Fund and £500 to York Hospital radio.

The donation to the Afghanistan appeal takes the total raised past the £12,000 mark. The appeal aims to fund a new permanent monument in the city centre, which will highlight servicemen and women associated with York who have fought in Afghanistan and also list the names of the York servicemen who have died there.

Mr Bradbury said this year’s Community Carol Concert will take place at the Barbican at 2.30pm on Sunday, December 15.

A choir from Headlands School will be taking part, with other performers including Yearsley Grove Primary School Choir and Shepherd Building Group Concert Band.

Tickets will go on sale at the Barbican box office from July.