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Fred joins in the festive fun at school nativity play

What does Christmas mean to you? A time for family, friends - forgiveness?. Well for children - it is, of course, one of the most exciting times of the year - the prospect of Father Christmas visiting and leaving a special something in return for a glass of sherry and a mince pie.

It's also a time of the annual school nativity. Fred went along to one primary to get a 'Child's Eye' view of Christmas.

Fearless Father Christmas's underwater mission

Santa goes in at the deep end Credit: Blue Reef Aquarium

A scuba-diving Santa Claus took time off from preparing for Christmas by taking the plunge at Hastings’ Blue Reef Aquarium.

The fearless Father Christmas was joined by one of his elf helpers as they donned scuba gear and entertained surprised visitors to the Rock-a-Nore Road attraction.

The sub-aquatic Saint Nick temporarily shared the giant tropical ocean display with a variety of sharks, rays and hundreds of brightly coloured reef fish.

Blue Reef’s Leanna Lawson said: “Several metres underwater may not be the first place you’d expect to come face to face with Father Christmas.

“It just goes to show there really isn’t anywhere Santa can’t deliver presents – and it’s certainly a lot warmer than the North Pole."

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Could you make a Christmas dinner for 84p?

With Christmas rapidly approaching, many of us will already been stressing over how to get that special dinner right. And probably spending an awful lot of money in the process! .

So is there a cheaper way to provide a festive family feast? One cookery expert from Sussex certainly thinks so. Lesley Cooper reckons she can make Christmas dinner for under a pound per person. Malcolm Shaw reports.

The low calorie Xmas dinner for jockeys

The meal is just 294 calories Credit: David Parry/PA Wire

A team of food scientists has come up with a low-calorie Christmas dinner so jockeys can enjoy festive fare without failing the weigh-in.

The average Brit gets through thousands of calories on Christmas Day but Dr Rachel Edwards-Stuart, who spent three years working with Berkshire-based chef Heston Blumenthal, and Miguel Toribio-Mateas, chairman of the British Association for Applied Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy, have created a 294 calorie meal.

The team, recruited by bookmakers William Hill, was asked to come up with a meal for the jockeys racing over the festive period who normally restrict themselves to crackers and water.

The meal features turkey gel and potato foam Credit: David Parry/PA Wire

They used modern cooking techniques to come up with a meal including turkey gel, dehydrated Brussel sprouts, potato foam and cranberry air.

Champion jockey AP McCoy, who is riding on Boxing Day, said it was "a great invention" that would let him join in with his family at Christmas.

He said: "I always used to feel a bit left out when they all started tucking in to their turkey so this year I am looking forward to enjoying the full flavours of Christmas lunch, without having to worry about the calories."

Champion jockey AP McCoy tucks in Credit: David Parry/PA Wire

A festive Christmas message from Winchester

The Right Reverend Tim Dakin Credit: Diocese of Winchester
The Right Reverend Tim Dakin, The Right Reverend Jonathan Frost, Bishop of Southampton and the Right Reverend David Williams, Bishop of Basingstoke Credit: Diocese of Winchester

Celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, we remember that he is the light who brings us out of darkness. As it says in Isaiah: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined” (Isaiah 9:2).

We celebrate Christmas just after the shortest day in the year, at a time when light begins to re-enter the world, taking us out of the darkest days of winter. The coming of light is a sign of hope, and reflects that hope which Jesus brings to our world. St John says in his Gospel that Jesus “gives life to the world” (John 6:33) through his birth. In amongst the hustle and bustle of preparations for Christmas, we might ask ourselves, how do we bring light and hope to our communities?

Over the past year, people in parishes across Hampshire and Dorset have been thinking about their answers to this question, as we seek to nurture the mission taking place within our communities in Winchester Diocese. Living the mission of Jesus may sound like an impossible challenge, but put simply, it means that we aim to live out our Christian faith by becoming agents of social transformation in our local communities and working for their benefit.

This year we became the first Diocese in the country to appoint an Archdeacon for Mission Development, a senior priest who is supporting our work in this area. We’re proud that recent figures from the national Church showed that over 2,700 volunteers from our churches are supporting children, young people and families across Hampshire and East Dorset, a figure which represents nearly 1,000 more volunteers than the national average. However, we want to grow this work further, and next year we will be looking to explore even more ways in which we can offer support to local people.

In doing this I hope that we too will “give life to the world”, seeking, like Jesus, to be beacons of hope for our local communities. As we celebrate the birth of Jesus this month, my thoughts and prayers will be for all who strive to make a positive difference to their local communities, especially here in Winchester Diocese.

I wish you all a truly happy Christmas and New Year.

– The Right Reverend Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester

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Video of thieves stealing Christmas lights from children's hospice

Police are appealing for witnesses and anyone with information to come forward after Christmas lights were stolen from a Poole children’s hospice.

At 8.55pm on Tuesday 9 December 2014, thieves stole Christmas lights from the front garden of Julia’s House Children’s Hospice in Springdale Road in the Broadstone area of the town.

Police Constable Garry Weston said: “We know that a small light-coloured car or delivery van pulled up outside the hospice and a man got out of the passenger seat and walked toward the grounds of Julia’s House.

"The van left the scene and the offender was seen to walk into the grounds of Julia’s house before leaving carrying the lights.

“This was a despicable crime on a hospice which offers day and respite care for children with life limiting illnesses.

“I urge anyone who saw the incident or has any information about those responsible to contact Dorset Police in confidence.”

Christmas lights stolen from children's charity

Police are appealing for witnesses and anyone with information to come forward after Christmas lights were stolen from a Poole children’s charity.

At 8.55pm on Tuesday 9 December 2014, thieves stole Christmas lights from the front garden of Julia’s House Children’s Hospice in Springdale Road in the Broadstone area of the town.

Police Constable Garry Weston, of Ferndown police, said: “We know that a small light-coloured car or delivery van pulled up outside the hospice and a man got out of the passenger seat and walked toward the grounds of Julia’s House."

Video report: large amounts of fake goods seized

They're Christmas presents - many of them toys - but they could kill or seriously harm. That's the warning after fake goods were seized in a series of raids.

Border Force officers at Southampton Docks have recovered £17m worth of counterfeit goods this year - from watches to popular toys - all destined for market stalls and car boot sales in the South - as well as internet websites.

Kerry Swain reports on the dangerous toys and rip-off imitations that could ruin your Christmas.

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