Mary and Joseph had been chosen as the main characters of the nativity tableau because of their compatibility, they got on really well together. The year was 1971 and we had the last group of youngsters for the year staying with us at the Jane Hodge Holiday Home. I’m not sure why we decided to do a nativity play that year, we’d never done one before, but it must have seemed a good idea at the time. I don’t know where our congregation was coming from either, it certainly wouldn’t have been any parents of the youngsters staying with us as they would have lived too far away to attend; I think it was mostly staff members and their families and voluntary workers that would have been there, plus maybe a few villagers that were closely associated with the home.
This particular group of youngsters got on well with one another, and a number of boy/girl friendships developed particularly with Mary and Joseph who would have been perhaps twelve and thirteen at the time. I don’t quite know what happened but just before the dress rehearsal, when the photographs were taken, Mary and Joseph fell out with one another and it was with some difficulty we managed to persuade Mary to carry on in her role. I took a number of photos with the youngsters staged at various points of the rehearsal, and in every single one we have a Sulking Mary!
There is a recording of the children singing Away in a Manger in a short audio clip to be found on my YouTube video channel.