Christmas

Charity comes forward to fund nativity scene in Ilford

PUBLISHED: 07:44 06 December 2017 | UPDATED: 13:16 06 December 2017

Local people celebrating the fact that the British Pakistani Christian Association will be funding a new nativity scene for Ilford town centre.

Local people celebrating the fact that the British Pakistani Christian Association will be funding a new nativity scene for Ilford town centre.

Archant

Baby Jesus will be brought back to Ilford this Christmas after a charity has stepped in to cover the bill of a nativity scene.

Baby Jesus will be brought back to Ilford this Christmas after a charity has stepped in to cover the bill of a nativity scene.

The Recorder’s front page shined a light on the lack of Christian depictions in the High Road and lay preacher, Lesley Hilton, called on the community to create a crib together.

The British Pakistani Christian Association have agreed to fund the Christmas display and hope to have one installed by December 16.

“We wanted one for years and have created a scene in our front window as we couldn’t get permission for a town hall one,” said BPCA chairman, Wilson Chowdhry, 43.

“It will be great to see one again like I remember when I was a youngster”

The organisation has proposed two different options for the town centre manger.

Either they will pay for a glass or perspex box which schools and groups from all faiths can fill with different nativity figures or they will buy a “robust” set which can be used again and again.

Lay preacher and ex-councillor Lesley Hilton was delighted that the BPCA have come forward to finance the scene.

She believes that amid the emphasis on spending money at Christmas, a religious symbol should be installed to remind the community of where Christmas originated from.

“It is lovely news,” she told the Recorder.

“A lot of people from all faiths will be pleased to see this, as it is what Christmas is about.”

As well as writing a story about the nativity, the Recorder created a poll and asked residents if they would like a nativity scene in Ilford.

A whopping 636 people took part and 83per cent backed the initiative.

Leader of Redbridge Council Jas Athwal said he was pleased that a group came forward and the council will be liaising with the BPCA.

“I’m delighted that a local group has come forward to bring a nativity scene to Ilford town centre,” he said.

“Council staff are working directly with them to ensure that it can be installed as soon as possible.”

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