Photo Gallery: Celebration of Angels Festival in Gunton is a stunning success

FLYING, knitting and even leaping out of flowerpots....

Heavenly beings of all shapes and sizes brought a festive air to an historic parish church over the weekend.

Marking the start of Advent, the Celebration of Angels took centre stage at St Peter's in Gunton – attracting a steady stream of visitors and concluding with a special service on Sunday afternoon.

The array of colourful displays included angels in all manner of guises, from a few inches tall to one standing about 6ft – all lovingly fashioned by members of the community, from toddlers right through to a woman in her nineties.

Among those who contributed were youngsters from the St Benedict's Toddler Group and St Benedict's Pre-School, with dozens of drawings and paintings from pupils at Gunton Primary School.

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There were also angels created by the 1st Gunton Rainbows and Brownies, members of the church's congregation and flower arrangers, with some large knitted angels and embroidery on show in the aisles and annexe.

The Rev Trevor Riess, rector of St Peter's Church with St Benedict's in Gunton, said: 'The start of Advent is an ideal time for this festival.

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'It is a time of preparation and reflection – a time to think of the deeper and heavenly things of life.

'As we look to Jesus, the Son of God, this festival will help us to think of those who are called to be 'messengers of God' – angels.'

He added: 'The displays of angels in the church have been prepared by various groups connected with the church and from the wider community... We are sure that the displays will inspire you to think of heavenly beings.'

Ann Blowers, secretary of the parochial church council, said: 'Ninety small angels were knitted to be sold for a small donation to Angel Tree, the charity supported by the Mother's Union. The funds raised will buy Christmas presents for children of prisoners at our local prison.'

The efforts of 95-year-old church regular Jeanne Moore were praised after she made a display showing angels leaping out of flowerpots.

'She has done some lovely angels and we are proud of her,' Mrs Blowers said.

Pauline Dugan, churchwarden, added: 'Jeanne is devoted to the church, and while she can't knit any more she wanted to do something for the festival – and we were thrilled with her angels.'

Admitting the festival had taken weeks of planning, Mrs Dugan added: 'We have probably been working towards this celebration since the beginning of September. There were about 12 of us who did all the knitting, with the rector's wife Pauline (Riess) putting it all together.

'We knitted many squares and Patricia sewed the efforts of the congregation together to create the main angel.'

Last Friday about 90 children from Gunton Primary School visited the church to view the displays.

'They were thrilled with their artwork,' Mrs Dugan added.

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