Cornish choir perform unique Makaton sign language performance of Boney M Christmas song

  • Watch Charlotte Gay's report


A special version of Boney M's Christmas classic has been performed in the unique Makaton sign language by a Cornish choir and has been watched by thousands around the world.

Makasong, an inclusive community choir, filmed their alternative nativity music video for "Mary's Boy Child" to share the language.

It has been viewed nearly 10,000 times on Facebook with people commenting from Thailand, USA, Australia, and the Canary Islands.

Francesca Goff, a member of the choir, said "It's just incredible, seeing the comments from them has made us so happy so we'd like to carry on with this all of us really enjoy it."

Fellow singers/signers Liddy Whitehurst said performing in Makaton "makes me happy" while Chloe Pearn said she's "made a lot of friends" and had support from the choir.

The choir members said they had a lot of fun learning the new signs for the Boney M classic Christmas song Credit: Makasong

Over 100,000 children and adults in the UK use Makaton to support their speech.

It's useful for people who struggle with understanding concepts, those who have poor literacy skills, including grammatical knowledge, and those with English as an Additional Language.

Saskia Dady is a speech language therapist and co-director of Talk More Cornwall who runs the choir. She says the language is incredibly useful for lots of children and adults.

"It's been used in nursery and primary schools, it's used for children and adults with Down's syndrome, children who are on the autistic spectrum, children who have got English as an additional language, if it's being used in the classroom."

Chloe and Francesca would practice their makaton signing over zoom calls Credit: ITV News

While the signs are based on British Sign Language, they are simplified and standardised so people with learning difficulties can understand all the signs exactly the same.

BSL is a language in it's own right and there are some regional differentiations.

Saskia says unlike sign language, you "always use your voice" and also "sign the key words in the sentence".

The video was filmed and edited by Elizabeth Emrys-Jones who says it was "really heartwarming" to see the choir enjoy making the Christmas video but was surprised to see so many people had watched it so quickly.

"I thought it would just be like twenty people on Facebook going 'oh that's nice' but then I woke up the next morning, it was on like 2500 I was like, what?"

  • Learn 'Happy Christmas' in Makaton sign language