THE NEWS hosted their annual Christmas Carol Service at St Mary’s Church with an estimated 500 people celebrating the event.
Families and school children joined dignitaries including Pompey legend Alan Knight MBE, MP Stephen Morgan and deputy mayor of Portsmouth, David Fuller, to sing classic carols including Silent Night and Away in a Manger. The News mascot, Chipper the dog, even made a special appearance.
Lillia Knowles, aged 6, said: ‘I loved singing Away in a Manger.’
‘My great great granddaughter was singing in the choir and I really enjoyed Hark the Herald Angels,’ added 89 year old Joyce Taylor.
The highlight for many was the performance of songs from Manor and Penhale Infant Schools, Arundel Court Primary and Newbridge Junior Schools, accompanied by the distinctive sound of St Mary’s own choir.
Former goalkeeper Alan, who conducted one of readings, said: ‘I really enjoyed the service. My favourite part was the children singing the carols – which is what Christmas is about.’
For Mr Morgan, a former choir boy at the church, it was a trip down memory lane. ‘The school children were fantastic and the candlelit performance of Away in a Manger was really special,’ he explained.
For parish vicar, Father Bob, the service acted as a reminder to people of the true meaning of the festive season. ‘It’s fantastic for the whole community to come together and celebrating the values of love and peace,’ he explained.
‘This was a special occasion and I would like to thank Father Bob and his team,’ added editor of The News, Mark Waldron.