Donkey and sheep to make pilgrimage to Ilford church today

An Ilford church is celebrating finding its own donkey and sheep to provide it with the perfect festive scene today (Saturday).

St Peter & St Paul’s Catholic Church in High Road, is holding performances of the nativity story in its grounds from noon to 5pm.

Young children from St Peter & St Paul’s Catholic Primary School in Gordon Road, Ilford and St Aidan’s Catholic Primary School in Benton Road, Ilford, as well as teenagers and parents, are due to take part.

But Father Andrew Headon was struggling to find any animals to complete the picture.

Luckily he was able to call on a family of funeral directors in Canning Town.


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Father Headon said: “I tried a number of farms including City Farm in Newham who wanted to help but they couldn’t get anyone to deliver the animals on Christmas Eve.

“I knew T Cribb & Sons have a farm in Brentwood and do horse drawn funeral processions. “One of the sons is going to bring a donkey and some sheep. “It should make the perfect Christmas card scene and I hope a photo of it will be on my Christmas cards next year.”

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Father Headon got the idea for the nativity performances from the Italian tradition of presepe viventi, which translates as live crib, which started with St Francis of Assisi.

Donations to the crib on the day will go to an Essex charity called Childcare.

Adults will perform the nativity at 12.30pm, teenagers at 2.30pm and the younger children at 4.30pm.

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