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Preston nativity play has 896 actors

03 January 2014

JONATHAN LYNCH

PUPILS, staff, parents, and friends of a Church of England secondary school are hoping that the New Year will bring news that they are record-breakers.

Shortly before Christmas, hundreds gathered at Archbishop Temple School, in Fulwood, Preston, Lancashire, in an attempt on the world record for the nativity play with the most living characters. Their target to beat was the 845 achieved by the South Gloucestershire Music Hub in Bristol, in December 2012.

The existing record was close to the total number on the school roll, so they invited pupils from schools nearby, Corpus Christi Catholic Sports College and Queen's Drive Primary, to boost their efforts.

Adjudicators counted 896 participants - all in costume as shepherds, angels, wise men, and so on - and have sent their calculations to Guinness World Records for ratification. A decision is expected in February.

The idea was suggested by a Year 11 pupil, Daisy Watson, as part of events to mark the school's 50th anniversary. She said: "The school has been buzzing, and we have had a lot of fun making our costumes.We even got to miss a couple of lessons."

The head teacher, Gill Jackson, who dressed as the Angel Gabriel for the occasion, described the day as "absolutely fantastic". One of the science teachers played the star of Bethlehem, and three-month-old Finn, the son of another teacher, took the part of the baby Jesus.

"We thought it would be quite fun to try and crack a world record," Mrs Jackson said. "We are a Church of England school; so it seemed to fit nicely with what we were doing. It's given a real buzz to the place. The parents have been very supportive.

"I am very proud of the pupils. They threw themselves into this event with huge enthusiasm, and we had great fun together."

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