A special feature of Bishop Auckland’s Advent Windows this year is that 18 people from different nations are opening the windows during the month.
All the windows which are opening between December 1-24 display Christmas stories from around the world.
It all began on the 1st December at the new Auckland Tower, where Jane Ruffer officially unveiled the window which was created by the pupils of St Wilfrid’s RCVA Primary School. (pictured above)
Santa made a special appearance and the children read part of the story from The Annunciation Luke 1:26-38 before singing the song ‘The Angel Gabriel comes to Mary’.
On December 3rd, Gordon Jones from Wales (pictured below) opened a window at The Chocolate Cafe which displayed a Welsh story called The Christmas Cherries. It was designed by pupils from Bishop Barrington School.
Gordon came appropriately dressed in a Welsh Rugby Union top and he wished us a “Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda I chi gyd” – that’s “A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year” in Welsh!
The window at Rio Bar Cafe was designed by Daisy Arts told a moving story about Dutch prisoners of war at Christmas time in a Japanese camp in Indonesia.
It was opened by Bert Boonstra (pictured above) from Holland who appropriately wore clogs!
The famous 1914 Christmas Truce window at Peacocks designed by the Baptist and Influence churches was opened by German Silvie Fisch (pictured below).
Arguably the most colourful window opening was at Bishop Auckland Town Hall on December 7th when Peruvian Glover Gomero came with his son Danilo to open the window depicting a story from his nation called “Tell me Bright Stars.”
The brilliant design was conceived by St John’s School and Sixth Form College and the school brass band performed “A Starry Night.”
Below is the dramatic moment of opening the Wenceslas window at SAKS Hair and Beauty. Tomas Kostecka and other Czech colleagues drove all the way from Leeds to open this window!
Other nations represented in advent windows include Mexico, Denmark, Greece, Syria, Iraq, Italy and France.
Eight windows portray the Biblical story and this provides opportunities for local people to be window openers.
Mandy McBain, a midwife from Bishop Auckland Hospital who was well qualified to open the window on the Birth of Jesus, is pictured below with storyteller Peter Story and pupils from St Anne’s C of E Primary School who designed the windows.
Shelly Gilson, who takes care of the Kynren sheep, will open the Shepherds and Angels window at Fifteas Vintage Tearooms on Sunday 16th December.
On the final day (24th December) there will be a procession visiting all the shops and businesses starting at Hair Haus (10:00am) and finishing with the final window which is the Forces Support shop inside the Newgate Centre at 11:30am.
Nigel Bryson, Chairman of the Town Team said; “It’s been another busy few weeks for the town team volunteers and it’s been wonderful to build on the success of last year’s Advent Windows. All of the displays this year have been fantastic and the shops and businesses have all joined in the festive spirit by providing refreshments and gifts to the children.”
For the complete list click here
Shoppers can keep track of the progress of the Advent Windows and read the stories relating to the individual windows on the giant Advent Calendar inside the Newgate Shopping Centre.
Santa in the King’s Cafe and Retail
Over 100 children came to see and have photos with Santa last Saturday (8th December) when he was inside the Kings Café and Retail in Newgate Street.
For those who missed him, the town team will bring Santa back to Bishop Auckland, where he will be inside the Newgate Shopping Centre from 10am till 3pm on both Saturday 15th and 22nd December.
In addition there will be some festive music from the Sound Waves Community Choir, Steven Berry, Charlotte Forman and the Salvation Army.