1,400 celebrate Christmas message

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THE story of Christmas was delivered with a Victorian theme in a family Christmas spectacular.

The event, organised by the Portsmouth branch of Family Church, told the story of Christmas through song, dance and music.

The two-hour show was staged at the Mountbatten Centre, Alexandra Park, Portsmouth, and around 1,400 people went along to watch the free performance.

Crowds were treated to the Family Church carol-singing choir, their gospel choir, their street dance team, called Legacy, and actors from Kingdom Entertainment, who all told the story of Jesus.

Mark Smith, event organiser, said: 'I have organised the Christmas Spectacular for three years now and each year it has grown.

'It is the flagship event in our calendar and it is a gift from us to the city. The aim is to tell the story of Jesus in a fun way for all the family.

'The event is funded by us generally and some sponsorship, but it is free for people to attend.

'We offer it free because it's an expensive time of year and this is our way of giving something back to families.'

Planning for the Christmas Spectacular began in July, which was when the Victorian theme was chosen.

Matt Lockwood, worship pastor for Portsmouth Family Church, based at the City of Portsmouth Girls' School in St Mary's Road, said: 'This is a fantastic event and we have had people from as far away as East Anglia come and watch. The message is about the birth of Jesus through a theme.

'Church staff hired out Victorian dress and the street dance team took inspiration from Oliver Twist, to keep with the theme.'

The Mungai family, of Lockswood Road, Milton, were among those who enjoyed the show.

Dad Emmanuel, 36, a bus driver, said: 'It tells the most important message about Christmas and sometimes that gets forgotten. It is done in a great way. We all enjoyed the music, singing and dancing.'

Mum Maria, 26, a housewife, added: 'It was a great treat for the whole family.'

Mark Ward, 54, a business consultant, of Glee Park, Bedhampton, said: 'I have been coming to watch the show for five years and each time it gets better.

'I like it because the performers are so professional and the whole show is well polished.'

Donations were being collected for Caring Hands, which is run by the church.

The charity creates food hampers containing bread, milk, soup and other basics, which are handed out to those in the community who need them.

One hamper costs 35 to make and 12 are made each month.