HUNDREDS of school children packed in to York Minster for their Christmas carol service.

Archbishop Holgate’s CE School annual carol service has grown in recent years to become a popular community occasion and one of the largest school carol services in the region.

More than 1,000 parents, governors, friends of the school and members of the public filled the nave and aisles of the cathedral.

More than 200 students from Archbishop’s participated in the service as singers, readers, actors, dancers, musicians, ushers, technical crew and in a British Sign Language choir. The school was also joined by more than 150 pupils from nine primary schools across York and the East Riding who sang together. This year the community choir had almost 80 parents, governors and staff from the academy and others in the Pathfinder Multi Academy Trust.

The preacher at the service was Rev Matt Woodcock, pioneer minister at St Barnabas Church, York and a BBC Radio 2 Pause for Thought Contributor.

He said: “It was a huge honour to speak at this service. What a brilliant night in one of the world’s most magnificent buildings! The staff and pupils helped convey the real meaning of Christmas in such a beautiful and engaging way. They should be very proud.”

Richard Nihill, the school’s chaplain, said: “It is a real privilege to present our interpretation of the Christmas story in the beautiful setting of York Minster. We know that for many of the congregation this is their main opportunity to reflect on Jesus’ birth. To have the opportunity to share this with over a thousand people is wonderful. For me the annual carol service is one of the highlights of the school year and a wonderful reflection of our school values. We were delighted to have welcomed Rev. Matt Woodcock to join us in our celebrations. His boundless enthusiasm was truly infectious.”

Archbishop’s is part of Pathfinder Multi Academy Trust, a partnership of nine church and community schools serving more than 3,700 students across York.