St Nicholas Night a success for town

Redditch Advertiser: The boy bishop Christian Steele with his attendants Ella Forbes, Sian Webster, and Olivia Hands dressed up for St Nicholas Night. Buy photo: RCR501301_01 at redditchadvertiser.co.uk/pictures or call 01527 889030. The boy bishop Christian Steele with his attendants Ella Forbes, Sian Webster, and Olivia Hands dressed up for St Nicholas Night. Buy photo: RCR501301_01 at redditchadvertiser.co.uk/pictures or call 01527 889030.

LAST Friday saw the High Street closed and lined with stalls as people teemed into town for Alcester’s annual St Nicholas Night celebrations.

The town's shops stayed open while food, gift and charity stalls also gave visitors the chance to find some unique Christmas gifts, or try a cup of mulled wine.

Entertainment was provided by various local groups and there were fairground rides for the children, before the boy bishop Christian Steele and his attendants Ella Forbes, Olivia Hands, and Sian Webster led the traditional parade along the High Street followed by a host of unusual vehicles and community representatives.

The Rev Adrian Guthrie has just been installed as the new rector at Alcester Minster and St Nicholas Church, taking over from the Rev David Capron who was one of the organisers behind the first St Nicholas Night 10 years ago.

This was the Rev Guthrie first taste of an Alcester community event.

He said: “It was great fun and an excellent community atmosphere. One of the things I noticed was the positive attitude and enthusiasm of people for living in Alcester.

“It’s good to see that a church festival is being celebrated in the wider community, and I quite like that many of the community groups were represented with stalls on the High Street, It was a good way of seeing the range of groups working in the Alcester area.”

The evening ended with a community church service and a huge fireworks display on the recreation ground.

Alcester mayor Mark Cargill, added: “It was a lovely evening and yet another one of what Alcester does really well with that traditional feel, and the parade. The fireworks were stunning, and it was absolutely packed again.”

The tradition of the boy bishop dates back to before the reformation in England, when a young boy would be chosen from the community and dressed in the bishop's formal dress. Traditionally the real bishop would symbolically step down and the boy bishop would retain his powers to perform church services, until December 28, making a circuit of the town and blessing people.

Hereford Cathedral, Westminster Cathedral and Salisbury Cathedral all still name boy bishops for St Nicholas Night.

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