Nursery uses a real donkey in its nativity play

CHRISTMAS HIT ... staff at Helen Gibson Nursery, East Boldon, performed their traditional nativity for the youngsters with the help of Koko the donkey, belonging to pupil Ruby Burnett-Houghton.
CHRISTMAS HIT ... staff at Helen Gibson Nursery, East Boldon, performed their traditional nativity for the youngsters with the help of Koko the donkey, belonging to pupil Ruby Burnett-Houghton.
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THEY say you should never work with animals and children – but that didn’t stop a South Tyneside nursery celebrating the true meaning of Christmas in style.

Helen Gibson Nursery, in North Lane, East Boldon, had a very special cast member for its traditional nativity play, a donkey with plenty of acting experience.

Koko – the family pet of four-year-old nursery pupil Ruby Burnett-Houghton – proved an early festive hit.

Jenny Parker, headteacher at the nursery, said: “Ruby lives on a farm and they have a donkey, called Koko. It is the first time we have had a real-life donkey in the nativity play.

“Koko has been in a few other plays working with children in the past. He was lovely and the children got to pet him and give him a cuddle.

“It was something that the children will always remember.”

Mrs Parker says the school always kicks off its Christmas activities with a traditional nativity play.

She added: “We like to start with the nativity play so the children have an understanding of the story behind Christmas.

“We had a performance in the morning and the afternoon – and Koko took part in both.”