A Goosnargh Church is appealing for nativity cribs for what is believed to be a unique event

Licensed lay reader Delphine Burn, who came up with the idea of staging what is believed tobe the north's first Nativity Crib Festival.
Licensed lay reader Delphine Burn, who came up with the idea of staging what is believed tobe the north's first Nativity Crib Festival.

What is believed to be the north’s first Nativity Crib Festival is coming to a Goosnargh church this December.

It is planned to fill the recently refurbished medieval church of St Mary the Virgin with no less than 150 nativity cribs of all shapes and sizes, from all corners of the world.

Organiser and well known lay reader of 17 years, Delphine Burn believes the four-day festival, to be held from November 30 to December 3, will not only be a first for the north, but she only knows of three other such festivals, all held in the south.

“We have already been promised more than 100 crib sets,” says Delphine, who is now appealing for a further 50 and is also asking for the stories behind them, such as their origin and age, or were they a special gift?

“We hope to have crib sets and angels. The angels are something difficult to describe, but they are paper angels and and we hope they will be placed all over,” says Delphine, who is 80 in August and works within the Fellside Team.

“I came came up with the festival idea after visiting Bath just last Christmas. I went into a church that had just held a Christmas crib festival and although I didn’t see it, the idea struck me as being a very good one. So I came back and asked permission from the PCC to put on a nativity crib festival at St Mary’s,” says Delphine, who is joined by a committee of eight.

“We have had the church altered and want to show it off and show it at its best,” says Delphine, who is planning for the organ to be played during the festival and for a Nativity fancy dress corner for children.

There will be no admission charge, although donations will be appreciated for Derian House Children’s Hospice and seasonal light refreshments will be served throughout.

Church organisations are joining in and the Sunday School is making finger puppets of the nativity figures.

“We have got cribs promised from all over the world, from as far away as New Zealand, from Austria, from Germany,” says Delphine, adding: “If anyone has a crib set they would like to lend us, please get in touch with me on 01772 865487 before the end of July.”