Meet the nativity cast which includes a shepherd aged 87, a 98-year-old donkey and two wise men with the combined age of 163

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They may be a little older than the usual stars of a Christmas nativity. But residents at one Castleford care home are not letting that stop them from getting into the festive spirit.

Newfield Lodge’s nativity performance will include a shepherd aged 87, a 98-year-old donkey and two wise men with the combined age of 163.

Rehearsals for the production, which will tell the traditional Christmas story with a modern twist, are in full swing.

And staff and residents at the 64-bed residential home are almost ready to take on their leading roles.

Front of house manager Jenny Hodson said: “It’s the first time any of the residents or staff have been in a nativity play since school and it’s the first time we’ve done a large production like this here at Newfield. It’s created a real buzz around the place.

“Our caretaker has been busy designing the stage sets and lighting, our residents have been busy making crowns and other props for the play during their weekly art and craft sessions and we’ve all been rehearsing like mad for the big day. It’s starting to feel a little daunting the closer it gets, but it’s going to be a fantastic day.”

Practising for the production has been fun for the likes of wise men Roy Schofield, 89, and Terry Walton, 74, donkey Mary Maskill and shepherd Ken Stringwell.

But the initiative has also helped boost the health and wellbeing of many of those involved.

Care Home manager Paula Mountjoy said: “We’re passionate about providing stimulating activities for our residents here at Newfield Lodge.

“Many of our residents have some form of dementia and it’s vitally important to keep them active and as engaged as possible on a daily basis. They’ve loved being involved with a big project like the nativity play. It’s given everyone a real focus and something to look forward to.”

As well as much-loved carols and traditional festive tunes, the nativity audience will be treated to renditions of hit songs from The Lion King and artists including Take That and Beyonce.

Newfield Nativity the Musical will take place on Saturday, December 15 at 3pm and will also be shown on ITV’s This Morning. Tickets are on sale at the home and cost £5 for adults and £3 for children. They include a buffet beforehand at 2pm.