SOUTHEND’s festive shopping stopped at noon on Saturday 20th December 2015 as a flashmob on the true meaning of Christmas captivated shoppers.
The town centre stood still as the Salvation Army Band, disguised as festive buskers, and a choir of 100 people led by The Show Choir disguised as shoppers broke into Hark the Herald Angels Sing by the railway bridge.
Mary, Joseph, Jesus, shepherds, an angel and the Three Wise Men then began appearing before arranging themselves into a tableau of the Christmas story, as the music turned into a medley of Don’t Stop Believing by Journey and Love is All Around by Wet Wet Wet before returning to Hark the Herald Angels Sing.
The flashmob was organised by Icons-on-Sea a team of creatives from local churches as part of the national Christmas Starts with Christ campaign, which seeks to put Jesus and the biblical Christmas at the forefront of the country’s festive celebrations.
Many shoppers, some of whom had already stopped to watch the band before the flashmob started, were surprised by the performance – as Heather Blakemore noted.
Heather, 38, of Henry Drive, Leigh, said: “I thought it was fantastic, it definitely got me in the spirit of things, and watching the reactions on people’s faces was brilliant.
VIDEO: Flashmob halts shopping for real meaning of Christmas
“We’re not Christians but it did make me think more about the Christmas story and I think it’s good, especially for the younger generation, to learn about that side of it as well.”
The event was captained by town centre Methodist minister Hannah Buck, who said she was delighted with the way things went.
She said: “It went really well and we were please to have such a crowd.
“We had over 100 singers and probably ten or so people in Nativity costumues.
“The idea was to make people smile, give people something to stop and smile about in the run up to Christmas, and obviously we’re from local churches all over Southend, and we want want to remind people what it was about but with a light touch.”
Article originally published in the Echo Newspaper by Paul Nizinskyj. Used with permission.