Photo Gallery: Panto cast provide Christmas cheer at Norwich carol service
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2014
Over 700 people congregated at St Peter Mancroft Church in Norwich this morning, to sing carols with the cast of this years pantomime.
People were treated to songs and readings from the cast of Peter Pan, currently running at the Theatre Royal.
Traditional carols were sung including 'O Come All Ye Faithful', 'Hark! The Herald Angels Sing' and 'Once in Royal David's City'.
The church was full around half an hour before the service was due to start, meaning many people had to stand at the back- competing for the best vantage point in the process.
The small children's book area towards the back of the church was packed and every row of seats was full of families wanting to celebrate the importance of Christmas.
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Sid Sloane (Aunt Delilah), Richard Gauntlett (Smee), Ben Langley (Starkey), Ruth Betteridge (Wendy), Charlotte Baptie (Peter Pan) and Sinead Kenny (Tiger Lily) were all on hand to join in the festivities, having already completed over a weeks worth of shows so far.
Sid, who is best known for his work with children's channel Cbeebies, said: 'It was absolutely beautiful to be here. I am really pleased to attend because usually I don't get to see a carol service as I am performing in panto.
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I was raised as a Roman Catholic myself and I have the spiritual beliefs so it was great to be a part of it'.
Pantomime stalwart Richard Gauntlett provided an array of laughs as he spoke about the exploits of a Christmas turkey as part of his reading.
He added: 'Every year this service starts exactly on the hour. It is remarkable and the place was packed. I not a regular church goer but this is my annual visit that I really cherish'.
The service, which lasted for around an hour, also included The Panto Babes singing 'Do They Know It's Christmas, a candlelight carol from Charlotte Baptie and Ruth Betteridge and also a film related Christmas reading from Ben Langley.
Canon Peter Noakes is the vicar of the church and also the official chaplain of The Theatre Royal. Speaking after the service he said: 'It's a great time for us to remind ourselves that God wants a kingdom full of children of all ages.
There were well over 700 people in the church and this is our way of saying thank you not just to the actors, but also the people behind the scenes.
This is a community church and we want to get the whole city involved'.
Many parents eagerly watched on as their children sang as part of the Panto Babes. Hamish Macqueen, 42 from Hellesdon was watching his daughter Iona, 13.
'It was wonderful, after a very busy few days it is starting to feel like Christmas. It was lovely to mix the carols with the pantomime reminding us the real meaning of Christmas'.
Eric Shaw, 74 who lives in Chester but was visiting his family in Norwich added: 'All of the singing made the show for me. My grandson Michael was singing and it was really well organised'.
Peter Pan runs at the Norwich Theatre Royal until January 18.
To book tickets call 01603 630000 or visit www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk