Hundreds pack out church for News Christmas service

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CHILDREN sang their hearts out as hundreds attended The News’ annual Christmas carol service.

Pupils from four schools across the city gathered at St Mary’s Church in Fratton to sing carols and learn about the christingle.

GLOWING Manor Infants and Penhale Infants with their Christingles. ''Picture: Paul Jacobs (123976-19)

GLOWING Manor Infants and Penhale Infants with their Christingles. ''Picture: Paul Jacobs (123976-19)

Children from Manor Infants, Penhale Infants, Arundel Court Juniors and Newbridge Juniors joined in singing carols such as Silent Night and Away in a Manger.

Around 500 people packed out the church to watch the service.

Father Bob White, vicar at St Mary’s Church, said: ‘I think it was the usual high standard.

‘It gives people a chance to pause and think about what the message of the Christmas story.

STAR Rob McVeigh of the Kings Theatre panto performing a reading: The story of the shepherds. Picture: Paul Jacobs  (123976-5)

STAR Rob McVeigh of the Kings Theatre panto performing a reading: The story of the shepherds. Picture: Paul Jacobs (123976-5)

‘The children performed brilliantly. To be able to stand up and sing in front of about 500 people takes a lot of courage and confidence which is good to see.’

Rob McVeigh, who is starring in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the Kings Theatre read The Story of The Shepherds from St Luke’s Gospel as part of the service.

He said: ‘It’s brilliant. It reminds me of my childhood.

‘My nan used to take me to church all the time, but I have never had the pleasure of the christingle service before. That’s new to me.

‘To see all these kids being part of something special has got a really lovely feel to it.’

Sandra Smith, from the Kings Theatre, added: ‘I thought it was lovely. It’s lovely to see the children singing and doing their bit.

‘They are so engrossed in it.

‘It’s so nice with all the families, it brings people together.

‘For me, this starts Christmas.’

Mum-of-two Marilyn Goff, 32, lives in Drayton but came down to the service especially.

She said: ‘We come every year. We just love it.

‘It’s nice for the kids to get their christingles and do something for Christmas. It gets us into the festive spirit.

‘They always look forward to it and they are excited about singing.’