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WATCH - Suffolk sheep stand pride of place in church knit-ivity scene

PUBLISHED: 19:12 16 December 2018

The nativity scene includes a Mary and Joseph along with the wise men and some shepherds Picture: RACHEL EDGE

The nativity scene includes a Mary and Joseph along with the wise men and some shepherds Picture: RACHEL EDGE

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A Suffolk craft group have unveiled their quirky take on the traditional nativity scene for a second year running - this time with an added local twist.

The ‘knit-ivity’ scene, created by the Knit and Natter group based at the Fairfield Centre in Aldeburgh, is currently on display at Aldeburgh Parish Church – featuring a woolly Mary, Joseph, three wise men, two shepherds, two Suffolk sheep and a lamb.

The idea came about last year, after Rev Johanna Mabey, assistant curate, saw pictures of a similar project attempted by knitters in Bristol.

She proposed the idea to the knitting group, led by Rita Fryer, who agreed to take on the mammoth task to help the church raise funds.

Speaking alongside Rev Mark Lowther, church rector, Rev Mabey said the figures have had “quite a busy time already” this season – recently appearing at a church in Grundisburgh, where they stood pride of place by the Christmas crib.

Rev Mark Lowther, Rev Johanna Maybey with knitter Rita and carpenter Adam Picture: RACHEL EDGERev Mark Lowther, Rev Johanna Maybey with knitter Rita and carpenter Adam Picture: RACHEL EDGE

“They had children in from the local primary school – they all wanted their pictures taken with the nativity figures,” she said.

They also proved a hit with Aldeburgh Church’s toddlers’ group, Rainbow Tots.

The figures are based around wooden stands, made by carpenter Adam MacIntyre, which help keep them upright while on display.

“The construction of the new figures has been going on all year,” Rev Mabey said. “They are very carefully made. The human figures are pretty much life-size – they’re beautiful.”

The nativity scene includes a Mary and Joseph along with the wise men and some shepherds  Picture: RACHEL EDGEThe nativity scene includes a Mary and Joseph along with the wise men and some shepherds Picture: RACHEL EDGE

In amongst the baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the three wise men are a few new characters – including two distinctive Suffolk sheep, complete with black faces.

“How the Suffolk sheep made it to Bethlehem I don’t know,” Rev Mabey said.

When asked if the knit-ivity scene could grow even further, Rev Mabey said: “We are not finished yet. Next year there may be even more – it’s a work in progress.”

The project is running throughout the Christmas period and aims to raise money for the church.

The nativity scene includes a Mary and Joseph along with the wise men and some shepherds   Picture: RACHEL EDGEThe nativity scene includes a Mary and Joseph along with the wise men and some shepherds Picture: RACHEL EDGE

“The figures are living in the church over the Christmas season and into the new year, and during that time we are inviting people to put some pennies in our donation box,” Rev Mabey said. “It made a huge difference to us last year, We are so grateful for the generosity of people who have come to visit.

“It is a very well loved space our church – it is at the heart of the community, geographically and emotionally.”

Rita Fryer, who runs Knit and Natter alongside her sister Susan Harrington, said she wished to thank all her members for their contributions this year, and invited people of all abilities to come along for an afternoon session.

“It is a nice thing to do on a Wednesday afternoon,” she said. “Come and have a cup of tea and a piece of cake – we need a lot of people to come. It’s not just for knitting, we natter a lot.”

Rev Mark Lowther with one of the shepherds, a new addition to the scene this year  Picture: RACHEL EDGERev Mark Lowther with one of the shepherds, a new addition to the scene this year Picture: RACHEL EDGE

The Fairfield Centre in Aldeburgh, which hosts the Knit and Natter group on a weekly basis, can be contacted on 01728 454515.

Anybody hoping to catch a glimpse of the knit-ivity scene can visit Aldeburgh Parish Church anytime during the Christmas period from 9.30am until nightfall.

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