How South Tyneside replaced annual Nativity plays with Fenwick-inspired Christmas window displays

With a little help from some “messy sheep”, a Jarrow school has refused to allow the pandemic to spoil Christmas after it was forced to cancel some of its annual seasonal events.

Jarrow Cross C of E Primary School in Borough Road would usually open its doors to parents and carers, with Nativity plays and school fetes among its regular annual activities.

However, Covid-19 has put paid to that. So parents were invited to a magical, socially distanced walk around the school to take a look at the stunning artwork on display in the school’s windows.

Taking inspiration from Fenwick’s department store in Newcastle, pupils have created a bright and beautiful window display of their own, which has been shared on the school’s website.

The "messy sheep" window display at Jarrow Cross C of E School. Pupils from left Grace Davis, ten, Ava-Rose McGibbon, nine and Chloe Sawkill, nine with Rev. Lesley Jones and headteacher Susan McBeth. The girls are in the same bubble.

Among the artwork is a recreation of The Twelve Days of Christmas, from drummers drumming to a partridge in a pear tree.

The highlight of the walk was the Nativity scene complete with real donkeys, Hobo and Bandit, who could be seen in the school’s outside classroom.

Also appearing in the windows are some “Messy Sheep”, which are linked to a community project by the parish of Jarrow and Simonside.

The sheep have been knitted by volunteers from the parish and placed in the windows of shops and hairdressers around the town, for youngsters to see if they can spot.

Donkeys Hobo and Bandit were a big hit with pupils at Jarrow Cross. Picture courtesy of the school.

Headteacher Mrs Susan McBeth said: “As we are not able to have parents in school this year we thought we would decorate all of our school windows and invite parents to walk around the school grounds with their children, admire the artwork and enjoy a hot chocolate and ginger biscuit.”

Revd Lesley Jones, Rector of Jarrow and Simonside, popped in to see what the children had created.

She said: “We have been knitting sheep and the children have hidden a sheep in each of their windows for people to spot as they walk around.

“The idea is that we are reminded of the stable where Jesus was born when we are dashing about getting ready for our Christmas celebrations.”

Parents were invited to take a socially distanced walk to look at the beautiful Jarrow Cross windows.

Other residents of Jarrow will be able to see the sheep while they are out doing their Christmas shopping. We’re not saying where. You’ll just have to keep your eyes peeled.

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There's one! These Jarrow Cross students have spotted one of the school's "messy sheep". Picture courtesy of Jarrow Cross.
Can you see a messy sheep?
Look closely. Santa has a messy sheep on board.
There's another messy sheep here with the elves.