A ‘precious family tradition’ hosted in Bridport was hailed a huge success.

The Chapel in the Garden hosted a ‘very well attended’ and ‘non-conventional’ Big Winter Carol Service to get the people of Bridport in the Christmas spirit.

The service contained many diverse elements including the 'jumping 12 days of Christmas', which sees people jump up on the number according to the month of their birth.

This year, Mrs Claus made a very special visit bringing plenty of joy and gifts for the children.

The community rallied in support of the event with Bridport artist, Louise Riley bringing one of her much-loved statues of an angel, Ukrainian choir, Cheremshina sang a lovely Christmas song and Anna Vee brought along a much-loved Grub the sheep who was very happy to be petted.

There was plenty of singing, dancing and even a Christmas story, followed by refreshments and a chance for people to share their Christmas hopes for peace.

Chris Savory, who led the Christmas service with his wife Margie said: “It’s a very special time of year for the Chapel when we host many people from the community, offering them a spiritual home for all faiths and none, and so serve a range of the town’s needs.”

The Christmas Day service was attended by visitors to the town, as well as by members of the congregation, its theme was light in the darkness, and again the candles of joy and concern offered the participants an opportunity to share their hopes and fears at this challenging time of year.

Margie added: “The poem Cat in the Manger by U.A. Fanthorne offered a light note while the poem Light by Rabindranath Tagore reflected upon ‘Light, my light, the world-filling light, the eye-kissing light, heart-sweetening light, and it was read by Rebecca Hilton.’”

A special Peace of Cake service to lead people into the New Year will also take place at the chapel on Sunday, December 31, at 11am, in the white room.

Rev John Harley is set to lead the service.

He said: “It will spread the light as we ease into 2024, I invite everyone to join us for the intergenerational service with time for creativity, sharing, fun, singing and reflection. There will be the chance to make your own chalice, share cake and consider resolutions, or revolutions for the coming year and all ages are welcome.”

Several other services also took place at the chapel over the Christmas period including a special quiet service for those who find the festive season difficult, with a chance to honour a loss, share a memory to be and to be with a comforting friend as they light a candle as a tribute to their loved one.