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Better late than never for school nativity after virus outbreak

by Aaron James

St Richard's Church of England Primary School in Ham is doing its nativity tonight on the eve of Epiphany after almost a third of its children were struck with norovirus before they were due to perform last month.

Around 50 of its 180 pupils, including Mary, Joseph, Herod and narrators were hit by the sickness bug. Head teacher Carmen Palmer said they were "left with a few shepherds".

It's the first time St Richard's has done a nativity on the eve of Epiphany - the traditional end to the Christian celebration of Christmas, still observed in many countries.

Epiphany, also known as Three Kings Day, commemorates the three wise men's visit to Jesus as a baby in Bethlehem.

For Eastern Christians who observe a different calendar, it commemorates Jesus' baptism in the Jordan River.

Speaking to Premier, Carmen Palmer said: "We'd already got this Epiphany service arranged in our little local church and we thought, why don't we just do the nativity on the eve of Epiphany, which would get all the presents and Santa and actually get the children thinking about the real meaning of Christmas after Christmas Day.

"We made the decision that we were going to celebrate all twelve days of Christmas and not cut it off six days in, and for some children that's quite a surprise, particularly the children who aren't from Christian backgrounds.

"As far as they're concerned, Christmas is Christmas Day."

Listen to Premier's John Pantry and Rosie Wright speaking to Carmen Palmer on Inspirational Breakfast:

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