doc

A NATIVITY play written for the children of Goostrey 50 years ago by the famous author Alan Garner will be the subject of a radio documentary to be broadcast on Christmas Day.

Bringing Holly from the Bongs, which was first performed in 1965 by the children of Goostrey School, will be recognised and celebrated on BBC Radio 4 Extra..

The radio producer, Andy Cartwright, interviewed members of the original cast who attended the 50th anniversary celebration at the Crown in Goostrey in November, and recorded others who had been involved behind the scenes including Margaret Kettle, now aged 93; Ruth Hough, now aged 100; and the mere 81-year-old Alan Garner, who wrote a book about the extraordinary educational experience of creating the play.

Some of the present children at Goostrey Community Primary School, who performed a concert version of the play at their junior carol service in Goostrey church, will also feature in the programme.

“Goostrey has certainly changed in 50 years,” said Griselda Garner from the Blackden Trust who helped to organise this year’s recording.

“Back then there were only 28 children in Years 5 and 6, all of them performing to an audience sitting on bales of straw in the wet and windy stables of the Crown Inn in 1965. This December 120 children performed to an audience comfortably seated in the warmth of the beautiful Goostrey church.

“It will be interesting to hear about the legacy of the play. The book is now a rare classic, much treasured by those who have a copy.”

Bringing Holly from the Bongs will be broadcast at 6.30am, 1.30pm, and 8.30pm on Christmas Day and on Boxing Day at 1.30am.