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More than 230 pupils from 15 special schools and schools with special units across Hampshire have joined together for a festive musical celebration at Winchester Cathedral.

Commenting following the event on Friday 8 December, Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Education, Councillor Peter Edgar, said: “This has been a real highlight for our special schools and units around the county, and particularly for the children involved. The excitement among the children and young people was clearly evident, and a joy to see. It demonstrates that having special educational needs doesn’t need to be a barrier to performing in front of a wide audience, in a famous venue. Our school children across the county have access to a variety of musical learning experiences, through our Music Service, and this includes to those who need extra support to perform.”

The annual event, organised by Hampshire County Council’s Music Service, re-tells the nativity story with a modern twist – combining traditional Christmas carols with modern songs as well as readings by the schoolchildren.

This year’s service began with a procession of banners representing all the schools taking part. School children were dressed as angels, innkeepers, shepherds and kings.

Music was provided by the Baycroft School Brass Band, the Hampshire County Junior Choir and soloist Connor Bates on keyboard. Connor is a Hampshire Music Service Hub Scholar, which means he receives specialist training, funded by an award for young people who have demonstrated high levels of musical ability.

Pupils from Shakespeare Junior School in Eastleigh sang and signed to ‘Child in a Manger born’. Mr Jolly the donkey, from Kiln Farm Riding School, also supported the Christmas storytelling, with his handler Wendy Carter.

Participating schools included:

The Waterloo School, Waterlooville

Heathfield School, Fareham

Icknield School, Andover

Liss Junior School, Liss

Shakespeare Junior School, Eastleigh

Henry Tyndale School, Farnborough

St Francis Special School, Fareham

Shepherds Down Special School, Compton

Glenwood School, Emsworth

Rachel Madocks School, Waterlooville

Maple Ridge School, Basingstoke

Forest Park School, Totton

Norman Gate School, Andover

Medina House School, Isle of Wight

Hollywater School, Bordon

Polly has almost 20 years in the media industry. As Editor of Andover and Villages, she strives to bring the latest and greatest news with a minutes notice. Polly can be contacted via or alternatively called at