Spixworth residents offer Mary and Joseph a bed for the night

There is plenty of room at the inn for Mary and Joseph this year... as they travel around a north Norwich village in the lead-up to Christmas.

Kind residents in Spixworth are inviting them to stay in their home every night from Advent Sunday until Christmas Eve when they will return to the parish church for a crib service.

The knitted characters have been to swimming lessons, schools, coffee mornings and carol services.

The Rev Andrew Beane, of St Peter's Church in the parish, said: 'We are trying to reach out to the community and encourage people who won't necessarily come to church to think about the real meaning of Christmas. It is about thinking about the story of Mary and Joseph.'

Families have been keeping a diary of their adventures and have been posting stories and photographs on Facebook.

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Rev Beane said: 'It has been a joy to see all the photos.

'We have a member of the community who moved from Spixworth to Canada last year who said they have been watching the journey on Facebook.

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'The Mothers' Union knitted them three or four years ago.

'It comes from a Mexican tradition where children would dress up as Mary and Joseph and go round different houses and be given sweets, like trick or treating.'

And it is not just families with young children who have been offering them a place to stay, Mr Beane said older people in residential homes had been caring for the characters for a night.

Along with his wife Catherine and their three-year-old daughter, Lucy, Mr Beane has welcomed the knitted characters into their own home in the village.

He added: 'It's wonderful that even though people are busy during Christmas, they are still finding time to welcome our holy family into their homes.'

Do you have a Spixworth story for the Evening News? Contact local reporter Lucy Wright on 01603 772495 or email lucy.wright@archant.co.uk

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