RETIRED Omagh school teacher Babs (Helen) Barrett has put a new slant on the iconic carol ‘Away in a Manger’ with a wonderful display of more than 200 cribs from around the world.
Donations from the Tattysallagh’s Nativity Crib Festival at her home on the outskirts of Omagh will go towards Mellon Educate – an organisation that brings aid to those living in the poorest conditions in South Africa.
Inspired by the great turnout to the Crib Festival in 2017 and 2018, Babs has extended the exhibition to include a live nativity performance, with a narrator, showing at intervals throughout both days of the displays.
She recently returned from Mfuleni in Cape Town where she worked as a volunteer building and renovating schools in one of the poorest areas of South Africa.
Babs has volunteered on these projects every year since she retired from teaching in St Conor’s PS in 2010.
Having witnessed the appalling conditions in which the families live in the townships, she describes their plight as “heart-wrenching”.
She has also witnessed the generosity locally, especially at Christmastime, as evidenced in the success of the Nativity Festival in the last two years.
Babs has continued to add to her array of cribs from around the world with nativity sets from Germany, Nigeria, Philippines, Ghana and South Africa to name a few of those added to her collection.
She explained, “People give cribs to me and I have collected them over the years. Last year the donations were over £6,500 which was a fantastic response especially as one of the two days of the display the weather was terrible.
“It is a fabulous opportunity to experience the way Christ’s birth is depicted by the different countries. I am really looking forward to welcoming visitors.”
Everyone visiting the nativity crib festival at Babs’ home will also enjoy afternoon tea.
The display at 33 Corradinna Road, Tattysallagh is approximately four miles from Omagh. Branch off the Dromore Road at Prices Shop (Vivo Store) and follow the signs for the Pigeon Top, continue on this road for half a mile.
• It will take place on this Sunday and the following Sunday (December 15) from 10am to 7pm. The live crib performance showings will take place at 11.30am, 2pm and 4.30pm. There will be ample and convenient car parking available.