THOUSANDS of schoolchildren will join churches across the south west to create a unique online Christmas extravaganza.

With the pandemic preventing traditional school nativities and big church gatherings taking place, a new online event called South West Carols will see thousands of people across the region tuning in to the live online event from the comfort of their own homes.

In a year that has been so difficult and causing isolation, it is hoped South West Carols will be able to bring festive cheer and lots of smiles into people’s homes.

Billed as a ‘celebration of all the good things that take place at this time of the year’, 21 schools will take part in the show to create a nativity produced by hundreds of pupils.

The event will also include musical performances from Exeter Cathedral Choir and London Community Gospel Choir, alongside award-winning Folk trio Wildwood Kin and worship leader Lucy Grimble. Local singer songwriter Joe Hardy, has also collaborated with 25 South West Worship Leaders to create a special recording of a traditional Christmas carol.

The event was created by South West Churches and Christian organisations working collaboratively to think outside the box in using online methods to still reach people, whilst even at this time there are still many restrictions on holding services and in person events.

One of the organisers, Mark Pugh said: "This time of year is filled with nostalgia. There is something so comforting about many of the festive traditions we've become accustomed to and carols and school nativities usually play their part in bringing much warmth and joy to many. We know Christmas will be different this year but it isn't cancelled and we are delighted to be working with many churches and schools to bring joy to thousands of people in homes across the South West.”

South West Carols will take place on Saturday, December 5 and Sunday, December 6 from 7pm-8pm each night. It will be broadcast live on the website, as well as on Facebook and YouTube, with live presenters and audience interaction throughout.

As well as traditional carols, creative musical items and a nativity produced by children across the region, it will also feature interviews, stories and fun moments to make you laugh out loud.