The tradition of taking the Nativity to the streets of Stannington will be continued this month, despite the departure of its guiding light.
Taking the lead after the retirement of the vicar of Christ Church, Canon the Rev Philip West, will be parishioner Jakki Bavin, who has moved to Stannington from America.
“He asked me to orchestrate it,” she said. “I had not even seen it before! I’m a transplant from Florida!”
Now Jakki has caught up on ‘Christmas Live’ by watching a three minute clip on YouTube and she will bring her theatrical background to bear as she organises the production, which is renowned for church members playing Nativity characters, and for the use of farm animals, that will tour Stannington on Monday, December 23.
She takes over from Mr West, who guided the outdoor Nativity for several years, and also took the Easter story to the streets.
“Someone in my home group knew I had a theatre background and that I am not working,” said Jakki, who majored as a student in theatre and humanities. “I seem to have all the qualifications - the time and the experience. He (Philip West) said I could say ‘no’, but everybody seemed downhearted because it may not be happening this year. It has been running for so long.”
There will be no major changes. “Everybody has volunteered to do the same thing. It’s still the same cast of players.”
Jakki worked with young people in America to educate them about domestic violence before coming to Sheffield with daughter Seren, aged ten, after meeting husband-to be Dale online, attracted by his enthusiasm for re-enacting historical battles! They married in Florida in March 2011.
Now she is part of the Stannington community - and getting used to the climate.
She appreciates the Nativity can be a chilly affair. “I’m hoping somebody brings me some warm clothing.”