A HOST of heavenly angels joined shepherds, kings and choristers in song to celebrate the festive season.

Pupils, parents, carers, friends, family and teaching staff at West Park Academy, Darlington, gathered at the school’s fairy light willow circle for an evening of sing-along seasonal tunes.

The academy carol concert, led by West Park’s school choir singing a medley of Christmas Carols, was followed by a procession of students dressed in traditional nativity costumes who led the way to ‘Sam’s bench’, named in memory of five-year-old pupil Sam Hardy who lost his fight against leukaemia in January 2016.

Academy principal Sam Hurst said: “The carol service is a lovely way to end the year with family and friends.

“As our academy is so big it isn’t possible to do a traditional nativity play in the hall and invite all parents so this is a great way to have the whole community join with us and celebrate the end of term.

“We held our first carol service last year, at the official opening of Sam’s bench, and it proved so popular, as it has done again this year, that we hope it will become a favourite annual event in the West Park Academy calendar.”

The school choir, which has already performed at Wyvern Academy, Darlington Memorial Hospital and in Queen Street this term, ended its final performance with a rousing rendition of ‘We Wish you a Merry Christmas’ before hot chocolate and biscuits were served to guests.

Parent Heather Mitchell, of Darlington, whose daughter Jennifer took part in the nativity scene, added: “Jennifer has been really excited about dressing up as an angel tonight and singing in the willow circle.

“We came to the service last year and it was so beautiful – it so nice to see all the children taking part – it really feels like Christmas now.”