School children have stepped in to restore the face of one of the key figures in the Christmas story.
St Mary the Virgin Church at Throckley has been missing a key component for several years, after a stained glass window bearing an image of Mary became defective, leaving her without a face.
But now that’s all set to change, after eagle-eyed Year 2 children from Throckley Primary School noticed the defect during a recent visit.
Keen to restore the image of Mary to its former glory, the youngsters set about a fundraising campaign for the window to be restored.
They embarked on a bag pack at Sainsbury’s in Throckley, which yielded an impressive £500 that will cover the cost of restoration.
The Revd Allison Harding, vicar of the parish of Newburn, said she was “blown away” by the generosity and initiative of the children.
She added: “It started when they came into St Mary’s for a visit and asked lots of excellent questions about things in the church, such as the font, the organ, the communion table and other features.
“Then they noticed one of the stained glass windows had a defect and that Mary no longer had a face. I explained that Mary had never had a face while I’ve been in the parish.”
Allison said the children were feeling sad upon their return to the classroom, but came up trumps with a great idea when teachers challenged them to find a solution.
“I was amazed and delighted when the children decided that they could do something to put this right,” said Allison, who joined the youngsters for part of the bag pack.
She added: “I saw just how polite and assertive the children were. They asked everyone who walked through the door to ‘give for a new face for Mary at St Mary’s.
“The school presented me with an enormous cheque. We thanked them and God – and the children will be VIP guests to see Mary’s new face at St Mary’s once the repair has been done.”
To complete the story of generosity, Simon of Borderdale Glass agreed to carry out the work for no more than the £500 raised by the children.
“I’m blown away,” added Allison. “It’s the only way that I can describe my response to the generosity and initiative of the Year 2 children of Throckley Primary School.”
Photo: Revd Allison Harding with pupils and headteacher Julie Stuart at Throckley Primary School.