Donkeys bring Christmas service to life

Two live donkeys made a special appearance at a Christmas Eve service in Hampshire last night.

Hayling Island donkeys Rusty and Ollie were at the family service at St Francis Church, Riders Lane, Leigh Park.

It is their second appearance at the church following their star turn in last year's crib service.

The Christmas Eve service was a traditional re-telling of the Nativity story, with all the characters represented.

The theme of the service was Jesus as God's gift to mankind and it included carols sung by candlelight to help worshippers reflect on the birth of Christ.

Decorations of gold and silver glittered stars helped give the church an especially magical feel.

The vicar, the Reverend Jonathan Jeffery, said: "It's a hectic time of year for most people, but it's really good to take some time out to think about what we receive from the Christmas story, to reflect on what the characters in the story give and to think about Jesus. After all, he's God's gift.

"We want to remind people that the greatest gift at Christmas is God's son, born as a baby."

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