South West Wales

Neath church plays down fuss over Mary wearing riding hat on nativity donkey

Organisers of a nativity play where a child playing Mary will ride on a donkey through Neath have questioned why there is a fuss over making her wear a riding hat.

Mark Barrett from Bridge Church said no-one had forced them to make the eight-year-old girl wear a hat.

He said it was common sense and also part of the donkey owner's licence requirements.

The event is being held in the town centre on Saturday.

The story has made national newspapers over Mary wearing the helmet due to health and safety concerns.

Headlines have included: "Elf and safety forces nativity procession Mary to ride on a donkey wearing hard hat".

But Mr Barrett has said he does not know what the fuss is about.

"We know the hat can easily be covered up by the costume," he said.

'Something different'

"The donkey is going on a public highway and that's the reason she's wearing it - we have got to consider the health and safety of everybody involved.

"It's gone from there - nobody has put our arms behind our backs to do this."

Mr Barrett, who runs the youth group at the church also said they had not received any complaints.

"We need a real donkey for this," he added. "I just thought it would be something different."

Other children will be involved with the nativity, as will the Salvation Army.

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