CHILDREN sang their hearts out as the Christmas season got under way at The News’ annual carol service.
Pupils from schools across the area joined in with a full congregation at the traditional service at St Mary’s Church in Fratton yesterday afternoon.
Marcus Patrick, who is starring in the pantomime Cinderella at the Kings Theatre in Southsea, read The Story of the Shepherds while News gardening expert Brian Kidd read The Story of The Wise Men.
Father Bob White, vicar of St Mary’s, who led the service, said: ‘It was a great celebration.
‘Lots of people have been saying how much they enjoyed themselves.
‘It’s just reminding people that behind everything else we are doing, there is a message about how we reflect the love of Jesus in how we care for each other.
‘The kids were excellent, there was some very good singing. It’s the start of the Christmas season and it gets people in the mood.’
Children from Manor Infant School, Penhale Infant School and Newbridge Junior School were singing carols.
Sandra Smith, of the Kings Theatre, said: ‘It was absolutely lovely. It’s so brilliant for families to come together and the children are singing. It really gives you a good feeling. I loved it.
‘For me, this starts Christmas, and the panto starts on Wednesday.
‘The church is so beautiful as well. It’s really nice, it’s so entertaining.’
Marcus, who grew up in Gosport, said: ‘It was really nice. I was really touched. I bought my lad down as well. Christmas is all about the kids. It was an honour to do it and a privilege to be able to bring him along. The singing was really good. All the little boys and girls did really well.’
Father Bob White told a story and gave an explanation about the Christingle, before handing them out to children and other members of the congregation.
The lights were turned out and children sang Away in a Manger with the church choir by candlelight.
Beverley Brister, 38, from Cuthbert Road in Fratton, came along to watch her eight-year-old daughter Emily Benjamin who is a pupil at Newbridge School.
She said: ‘It was brilliant. It makes you feel all Christmassy. They all sang very nicely as well.’