Charities Unite To End Homelessness

Making a song and dance of the Nativity!

 IT’S the most wonderful time of the year. But while the kids at St Bernadette’s Primary School are getting in the festive spirit, their teacher Mr Maddens is feeling it’s all humbug. He hates Christmas, so it’s with great reluctance that he takes on the challenge of directing the school play. That’s the backdrop to Nativity! The Musical, which is being staged at the Leeds Grand Theatre.

We're almost there

ON 3 August 1955, Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot received its London pre­miere. It was a milestone in British theatre and also in the life of its young director, Peter Hall. Many years later, Sir Peter explained that for him the play had ‘turned waiting into something dramatic’.

He went on to say that waiting had become a ‘metaphor for living. What are we actually liv­ing for, what are we waiting for … will Godot come … will something come to explain why we’re here and what we’re doing.’

Generosity unwrapped

 WITH inflation reaching its highest level for six years and snow disrupting public transport in some parts of the country, there have been financial and practical obstacles to overcome in the annual challenge of shopping for Christmas presents and food.

For some, the hardship has proved too much and hundreds of families have turned to The Salvation Army for help with food hampers and gifts for their children. The generosity of others has made an impact for good at this time of the year.

I was determined that the lives of the children I’d lost would have a purpose

THE big announcement did not happen. Zoë and her husband, Andy, had hoped to give their family the good news on Christmas Eve. She was pregnant. But before they could surprise the family, a scan showed them that their baby had died.

It was not the couple’s first loss. It would not be their last. Zoë and Andy even went on to suffer further loss at Christmastime, but also to celebrate the birth of their eldest daughter.

Zoë’s experience has given her insight into what other people may be feeling at this time of year.

Ciao, that's what I call music

WITH some of them in the UK and others in Italy, Carly Paoli’s family have been a passport to a varied musical education. The singer received formal training at Tring Park School for the Performing Arts and the Royal Northern College of Music in the UK. But she also learnt her art by singing in Italian piazzas.

Wander and wonder go together

VISITORS wanting to discover Amsterdam’s lesser-known tourist spots will uncover a couple of gems just a stone’s throw from the city centre’s flower market – two large churches within a hundred metres of each other. They are the Old Lutheran Church and its neighbour, the Krijtberg, a Roman Catholic church.

Captivity brought creativity

TERRY WAITE knows more about suffering and solitude than most. In 1987, while working as a special envoy for the Church of England, he travelled to Lebanon to secure the release of four hostages. But negotiations didn’t go according to plan. When he arrived in Beirut, Terry was abducted by the militant group Hezbollah. He was blindfolded, beaten and locked in a cell for a total of 1,763 days. For the first four years of his captivity, he was placed in solitary confinement.

More than wishful thinking

THE Christmas anthem ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day’ by Wizzard is heard in stores up and down the country at this time of year. Appropriately enough, it begins with the sound of a cash register ringing up another sale as money is thrown into the drawer. It could be argued that those opening few moments echo what has become the real sound of Christmas.