THE Christmas message will be embraced by families from across the area tomorrow as The News holds its annual carol service.
St Mary’s Church in Fratton will be the venue for traditional carols and readings from 3pm.
Former Hollyoaks star Marcus Patrick, who is performing in the pantomime of Cinderella at the Kings Theatre this year, will attend the event and perform a reading.
The service will be conducted by Canon Bob White, vicar at St Mary’s Church, who is looking forward to the festivities.
He said: ‘It’s an annual event that everyone at the church enjoys hosting.
‘Three schools will be performing and will be supported by their families and friends, so it is nice to have one of the pantomime stars attending.
‘It means that amidst all the busyness and shopping, it’s a chance to pause, celebrate and enjoy the Christmas message and the meaning behind it.
‘It’s good to work in partnership with The News because they share the same view of serving the community and help it celebrate in different ways.’
Pupils at Manor Infant School, Penhalf Infant School and Newbridge Junior School have been busy rehearsing their carols ahead of the service.
The Christingle – a short story and explanation of the Christmas symbol – will be heard before christingle candles made by St Mary’s Church Guide Company will be lit by the school choirs.
This year’s service will be extra special for Cinderella star Marcus, who will be in attendance with his 14-month old son Ethan.
He said: ‘I am really looking forward to this Christmas because it is the first one that Ethan will be aware of what’s happening.
‘My girlfriend and I are really excited by the occasion and to be able to come to a Christmas service where there will be lots of children. It will be a real family occasion.
‘I hope lots of people will come along and I wish everyone a very happy Christmas and new year.’
Marcus will be appearing in Cinderella at the Kings Theatre in Albert Road, Southsea, from Wednesday until New Year’s Day.