A HOST of angels is descending on Saddleworth to bring cheer, joy and hope this Christmas.
Churches Together in Saddleworth has encouraged its members to create and display angels in various ways after usual seasonal traditions and celebrations were disrupted by Covid-19.
In Diggle, a 7-foot angel stands tall outside Kilngreen Church, created by resident and churchgoer Janet Iles.
The angel is made from three bamboo canes wired together while the wings are cardboard covered with plastic bags, and more white plastic bags attached to create the feathers.
The hands are a pair of painted rubber gloves and the dress is two plastic tablecloths edged with gold print as Janet attempted to make the figure completely weatherproof.
The angel is topped with a polystyrene head, which was previously used in a production of The Wizard of Oz, with a golden halo and golden hair, made from painted rope.
There are also lights intertwined into the halo and around the angel so the figure can be lit up for six hours each day during the Christmas period.
Janet said: “I’m really pleased with how she turned out – she looks lovely. And she’s survived the snow already!
“It’s nice to be able to do something for the village, and see other people get involved too – especially after the year we’ve all had.”
Janet has also decorated the church windows with figures of the three wise men while a nativity scene was created by Suzanne Bradshaw to go alongside.
Suzanne has also tied Christmas messages and festive wishes onto the benches outside the church for people to take away.
Meanwhile, on the green near the village Christmas tree is a nativity scene featuring a stable with Joseph and Mary watching over baby Jesus, kept company by a sheep.
The stable was made out of pallets by fellow churchgoer Jon Stocker before Janet placed in the figures, which have in previous years been on put on display in the church, and lights.
Elsewhere in Uppermill a ‘choir’ of angels has been created by parishioners and fastened onto the railings by St Chad’s Church in a bright display.
Liz Rooke explained: “We have missed our church choir so much over the last few months so for Christmas we are creating a new choir of Christmas Angels.
“It is being created by parishioners to spread the good news of Christmas across the Saddleworth hills and everyone in the community is invited to join in too.
“People can make a weather-proof angel, any colour, any size, any material and fasten it to the railings outside St Chad’s Church.
“You can attach a message to your angel if you wish, maybe remembering someone special or someone you have missed seeing in lockdown.
“If you are unable to get to church, please make your angel, leave it outside your door and contact me. I will arrange for the angel to be collected and taken to St Chad’s.”
Liz can be reached by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Meantime in Greenfield, church members knitted or crafted angels of all colours and sizes to decorate the railings of the Methodist Church.
The front steps with small trees on either side were also adorned with yet more angels, carefully placed by Rachel Fish and Sue Titmuss.
“We’ve got so many so we’ll just keep replacing them over the coming weeks as they get weather-worn to keep them fresh,” said Sue.
Rachel also carefully hand-painted rocks with festive Christmas trees and angels on, placing them on the church wall for passers-by to pick up and take home.
On the bottom of each rock she fastened a plastic bag in which people could put a donation for Francis House Children’s Hospice and post it through the church letterbox.
Rachel had previously placed poppy themed rocks on the wall in November, raising £110 for the
Royal British Legion.
And during lockdown she brightened the village by scattering multi-coloured painted rocks, bearing phrases such as ‘smile’ and ‘be happy’ for people to find.
Rachel said: “I have always loved painting – but I never thought I’d be painting rocks! It’s just something simple to make people smile.”