People in Newcastle are being urged to help transform the lives of some of the UK’s most vulnerable children by supporting a special Christingle service at Newcastle Cathedral.

Nearly 400 pupils from 11 local primary schools will be among the hundreds of people at the celebration at the cathedral on St Nicholas Square at 1pm on Thursday, February 2.

The Revd Kate Bottley, known for her appearances on hit TV show Gogglebox, is the guest speaker at the service, which will be led by Canon Clare MacLaren.

Christingle services include singing and storytelling for children and adults and revolve around children creating Christingles – an orange decorated with red ribbon, cocktail sticks, sweets and a candle, each highlighting different parts of the Christian story.

Across the country, around one million people attend Christingles at thousands of churches from November until Candlemas on February 2, the day of the Newcastle Cathedral Christingle.

Local people are welcome to join the festivities and money raised will go towards providing life-changing support to the vulnerable children The Children’s Society supports.

In Newcastle, these include children who go missing from home and care, those affected by sexual exploitation, and refugee families, while support in the Tees Valley includes help for vulnerable families, such as restorative justice sessions for youth offenders, intensive support and family mediation.

On the morning of the service the school pupils will take part in activities at the cathedral including making Christingles, arts and crafts and learning about The Children’s Society.

Pupils have also been taking part in fundraising activities through their schools.

Christingle has been celebrated to raise funds for The Children’s Society for 48 years.  Last year, the charity was able to work with more than 18,000 children with the help of the generous donations made at Christingles.  It is aiming to match the £1.2m it raised in 2015/16 through this winter’s services, which were launched by Eastenders actress June Brown.

Helen Whiteley, Regional Fundraising Manager for The Children’s Society in the North East, said: “We are thrilled to be holding this Christingle service at Newcastle Cathedral and involving so many local school children.

“Not only are our Christingles a memorable spectacle, they help The Children’s Society to transform the lives of the most vulnerable children in our society, both in the North East and across the country, and to ensure their voices are heard.

“We are enormously grateful for the support of the Church of England, local schools, members of the public, and both The Revd Kate Bottley and June Brown – both in supporting the dozens of Christingles already held this winter across the North East, and in helping us ensure this new service is a success.”

Canon Clare MacLaren, from Newcastle Cathedral, said: “We are really excited to be hosting this Christingle service.  We will be welcoming almost 400 children and the amazing Rev Kate Bottley so it’s going to be quite an adventure!

“Behind all the fun lies a serious message, though – raising funds to support the crucial work of The Children’s Society with some of the most vulnerable kids in our society.  The Christingle candles symbolise the hope which drives their work – and our prayers for a good childhood for every child.”

The Revd Kate Bottley said: “By supporting children and young people in our communities who are often facing harrowing and complex issues, The Children’s Society shines a light of hope in the darkest corners, and it’s a light that goes on long after Christingle is over.

“All the family come along to Christingle services because they are so visual and exciting.  For children and adults alike, going to a Christingle service may be one of their first experiences of going to church and gives people the opportunity to create warm memories that they can share together as a family.”