Christmas came alive in Mayfield

A real donkey carried Mary and Joseph to the Inn – courtesy of St Leonards-Mayfield School which hosted its famous Live Crib in the village last week.

Students conducted a candlelit procession through the village. A school spokeswoman said: “With reports in the news regularly occurring of schools scrapping their nativity plays in order to refrain from causing any offence to the public, students at St Leonards-Mayfield, an independent Catholic school for girls, took a stand to bring back the real meaning of Christmas.”

The Live Crib has been a tradition at St Leonards-Mayfield School for more than 50 years. But students at the school were worried that the true meaning of Christmas had been lost for many British children, as schools cut back on their Christmas productions. They were also concerned that families were becoming too focused on the pressures of spending money to making Christmas perfect.

The Live Crib, which is organised by prefects and includes students from year seven through to year 13, took place towards the end of this week. It began with the procession along the High Street where a choir of angels accompanied Joseph and Mary with their donkey on their search for shelter.

Finally, they were let into the school’s medieval Chapel, where the service of Christmas readings and hymns began, and the Nativity story unfolded with a real baby at its heart.

Head girl Catriona Franck said: “So many people seem to find Christmas more stressful than enjoyable, and I think we need to remember that the festive season should be a time of joy and an opportunity to spend time with our family and friends. The Live Crib is always really popular in the village of Mayfield and brings the whole community together. I feel so lucky to be a part of such a magical spectacle, focusing on the true meaning of Christmas as a special time which can bring families and communities together.”