Mary and Joseph wear helmets in nativity play

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donkey-brayA nativity play in Wales in which the young Mary was required to wear an approved safety helmet while riding a donkey has attracted national headlines in Britain.

The young Joseph, given his own donkey for the play, also donned a hard hat.

The open-air nativity play organised by Bridge Church in Neath may have put safety first, but organisers say it was no big deal.

The children playing Mary and Joseph, aged 8 and 5, were required to travel along a public road during the play and the owner of the riding donkeys involved said it was a condition of his licence that helmets be worn.

The helmet were easily able to be covered by the costumes.

But that did not stop Britain’s media adding a little Christmas cheer, with headlines like: “Elf and safety forces nativity procession Mary to ride on a donkey wearing hard hat”.

Organisers said they had hoped that using a real donkey would bring their open-air nativity to life and remind people of the true meaning of Christmas.

About 25 children took part in the nativity play, with the young actors arriving in Neath’s town square, where they knocked on doors hoping to find room at the inn.

Mark Barrett, 44, a youth worker at The Bridge Church, told Wales Online: “I think the true meaning of Christmas has been lost a little bit throughout the hysteria. It has been a wonderful event designed to bring the community together and we’re thrilled to have been involved in something which celebrates the true meaning of Christmas.”

He added: “It’s not all been bad, either. The owner of the donkey has been so thrilled with the extra media attention he’s received this week that he ended up giving us two donkeys for the price of one, so we ended up having Mary and Joseph both riding with helmets on Saturday.”

 

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