Mayfield Traditional Live Crib signals the start of Christmas!
This wonderful Mayfield School Christmas tradition, now well into its sixth decade, was performed by girls from Year 7 through to Year 13 over the nights of the 11th to the 14th December.
Each evening, the Christmas story was enacted with Mary and Joseph’s journey along the village High Street, guiding a donkey and accompanied by a procession of candle-lit angels singing carols. Turned-away at the Middle House Inn, the procession wound its way to the School’s 14th-century Chapel. With the infant Jesus cradled in their arms, Mary and Joseph sat at the foot of the altar, with angels perched all around on the Chapel’s gothic windowsills. With the Archangel Gabriel singing from the gallery, Balthasar, Caspar and Melchior visited baby Jesus bringing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. The Chapel overflowed each evening with an enthusiastic congregation of all ages who joined the choir in a series of well-known carols.
Every year this 60-year-old tradition is organised by the Mayfield School prefect team and attracts crowds of families from Mayfield and neighbouring towns and villages – over 300 people on each of the four nights. It is unlike any other service of its kind in the area in that it uses a real donkey and a different baby to play the part of Jesus in each performance.
Head Girl, Chelsea Henshaw, said: “I feel so lucky to be a part of such a magical spectacle. Live Crib is a celebration of what Christmas should be all about, stripped of the commerciality, which is almost unavoidable at this time of the year. It is also a great opportunity for girls of all different age groups to work together as part of one community. It has been very hard work, but when you see it all come together, it is all worth it. This is a very special memory we can take away with us after we leave school next year.”
A retiring collection at the end of each of the four services raised funds for the prefects' chosen charities: The Cardinal Hume Centre, which is one of the very few centres to offer a complete service to the homeless, and Refuge, an organisation that supports almost 5,000 women and children rebuild their lives and overcome many different forms of violence and abuse.Published: December 19 2017