The Bishop of Lynn - who once appeared on Stars in Their Eyes - enthusiastically wished a Norwich carol service a merry Christmas when he sung them the Bee Gees song, Words.

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He sang the number in front of more than 800 people this morning at St Peter Mancroft Church for the 25th annual carol service.

The service was organised with the Norwich Theatre Royal and its stars, seeing many faces from the current production of Aladdin singing Christmas classics.

Going to the Christmas service has become a family tradition for many, with some admitting they arrived an hour and a half early to get a decent seat in the church.

Trevor March, from Thorpe, said his family’s annual visit to the church gets their Christmas off to a festive start.

He said: “There’s a real family feel and it is really very special.”

The Rev Canon Peter Noakes led the service with the Bishop of Lynn and both praised the strong links that the church has with the city and the theatre.

The Rev said: “This service brings people from across the county together.

“It’s our way of thanking the theatre and celebrating with the people of Norwich.”

Actors from Aladdin read and sang during the service, including Richard Gaunlett, who plays Widow Twankey, who read a tale about Father Christmas in the modern world.

And the Panto Babes, children from the Central School of Dancing and Performing Arts, sang a festive favourite in their red and white colour theme.

Alice Payne, a performer from the group, 11, said she has been singing since she was 7 and said her performance helped her get in to the Christmas spirit.

Norwich Theatre Royal chief executive Peter Wilson also read at the service, where he talked about the “beautiful” city of Norwich and county of Norfolk.

He said: “This is a celebration of being in Norwich and being a part of this special church.”

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