HUNDREDS of Scouts, Cubs, Beavers and parents packed a church for a fun-filled Christingle carol service.
A musical take on the nativity story had youngsters and adults of all ages on their feet last night inside St Mary’s Church, in St Mary’s Road, Kingston.
Splitting the 450-strong audience into groups, Canon Bob White had his congregation laughing and singing as they took it in turns to belt out lines from famous carols such as Away in a Manger and Little Donkey.
Then the lights went down on the 20 Scout groups from across Portsmouth and the glow from candles in hundreds of traditional home-made Christingles illuminated the church.
‘It was lovely,’ said Elaine Cobb whose seven-year-old son Max recently joined the 54th Portsmouth Beavers.
‘I have never been to one before but it was a brilliant introduction to Christmas for the children.
‘Father Bob really makes everything very entertaining and fun.
‘We will definitely be coming along next year.’
Max, of Chasewater Avenue, Copnor, added: ‘I thought it was really nice. I liked the candles and when they turned the lights off.’
District Scouting commissioner for Portsmouth, Ron Jacobs, said the turnout had been the best he had seen for many years.
‘It was a super evening,’ he said. ‘We had only planned for around 200 people so it really surpassed our expectations.
‘The service itself was excellent and Father Bob made sure everyone participated and had a good time.’