Advent Day 14: Let us bray - Noddy the Donkey stars in live street nativity play

A minister is dressing up in a white tutu with wings and a halo to play the Angel Gabriel in a live nativity play alongside a donkey called Noddy.

Rev Elspeth McKay and her four-legged friend are being joined by others to bring the Christmas story to life on the streets of Cumbernauld in North Lanarkshire.

"Follow the Star" is the first interactive performance to be organised by Cumbernauld Old Parish Church and promises to be an uplifting and lively event.

Rev Elspeth McKay
Rev Elspeth McKay has made it a Christmas tradition to use donkeys to help bring the Christmas story to life.

Mrs McKay, who enjoys channelling her inner Vicar of Dibley, said she hoped that local people will join in and follow the procession through the village on Christmas Eve.

The performance will start at the village bus stop on Roadside where Mary will be met off a bus by the Angel Gabriel who will give her a very special message.

From there the cast — Joseph, a Roman soldier, the innkeeper, shepherds and Noddy — will walk through the centre of the village and tell their stories of what happened that first Christmas night.

Extra bonus

Mrs McKay, who is a big fan of the BBC television programme and admits people often liken her to the central character Geraldine played by actress Dawn French, joked that Jesus will be depicted by a doll, not a real baby, as she drew the line with working with a donkey.

"We want to bring the Christmas story alive and re-tell it in our own setting," she explained.

"It is easy, amongst the fripperies and preparations for Christmas, to forget what it is all about and we wanted to bring the story to everyone."

Mrs McKay was inducted at Cumbernauld Old Parish Church in 2017 and previously served the rural parish of Echt and Midmar Parish Churches in Aberdeenshire.

"Using a real donkey has now become a tradition for me at Christmas and I didn't think that I would be lucky enough to find one who could help out in Cumbernauld," she said.

"I am so glad that Noddy can join us, he is really going to liven up the story.

"We have received very positive feedback so far and everyone we have spoken to is very excited about Follow the Star.

"I like to think that it will be an extra bonus for people attending to see the minister in a white tutu with her wings and halo in full view."

Mrs McKay said the nativity, which starts at 3.15pm, will be followed by a hot drinks reception at the church.

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