ON Wednesday, March 12, Gloucester Cathedral provided a dramatic backdrop for the 2014 Hop Skip and Jump Donkey Service.

The near thousand year-old cathedral welcomed a host of donkeys, children from Milestone School, The Shrubberies, Battledown Centre and The Birches Day Centre and local dignitaries in the form of Tewkesbury Deputy Mayor and Mayoress Councillor Mike and Mrs. Ann Dean and Cheltenham Deputy Mayor Councillor Simon Wheeler.

The Reverend Celia Carter, founder trustee of Hop Skip and Jump, led the service, which contained a series of tableaux depicting the life of Jesus Christ through the eyes of the humble donkey.

Children attending the event were invited to take part and participated enthusiastically in the scenes, taking on the role of shepherds, Mary and Joseph, and of course Jesus.

As the sound of clip-clopping hooves echoed through the cloisters, the congregation sung hymns to celebrate the life of Christ and were serenaded by the Cotswold Male Voice Choir, who gave a stunning rendition of 'Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?'

The service acts as a valuable reminder to those in attendance of the Christian values of humility and humbleness and celebrates the role of the donkey in assisting Jesus spread his word.

Additionally, the service functions as a reminder of the work that Hop Skip and Jump continues to do in the local area.

A retiring collection was made after the event for the charity, raising £200 to help HS&J continue providing the highest quality respite care. We would like to thank everyone who came to the service for coming and for their generous donations.

And an extra special thank you to the donkeys and their handlers - we wouldn't be able to run the day without your kind and knowledgeable assistance.

Thank you.