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Mayfield Traditional Live Crib signals the start of Christmas!

Published Wednesday 16th of December 2015 11:48:33 AM

This wonderful Mayfield School Christmas tradition, now well into its fifth decade, was performed by girls from year 7 through to year 13 over the nights of the 7th to the 10th December. Each evening began with Mary and Joseph’s journey down 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, sometimes behaving angelically, other times less so, Mary and Joseph sat at the foot of the altar, with angels perched all around, on the Chapel’s gothic window sills. The nativity then unfolded, with the Archangel Gabriel singing from the gallery and Balthasar, Caspar and Melchior – better known as the three wise men – visiting Jesus with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. The Chapel overflowed each evening with an enthusiastic congregation of all ages who joined the choir in singing a series of well-known carols. Every year this unchanged 50 year old service, is organised by the prefect team and attracts crowds of families from 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, Francesca McLaren, 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’s 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. When I watched Live Crib a few years ago you do not realise how much work has actually gone into it and you think a lot is done by the teachers, but it is not. 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 will be divided between The Cardinal Hume Centre, which is one of the very few centres to offer a complete service to homeless and displaced young people and Refugee Action, is an organisation that aims to help the millions of adults and children who have escaped from war and violence, and are now in desperate need of support.
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