A care home has helped their community celebrate Christmas by setting up a nativity scene – with animals as the actors.

Lydfords Care Home, in East Hoathly near Uckfield, created their scene with the three wise sheep and the Angel Gabriel, who happened to be a Shetland pony.

The animals, provided by South Brockwells Farm, were dressed up to look like some of the traditional nativity characters.

Rikki-Gene Bury, general manager of Lydfords Care Home, said: “It has been such a wonderful afternoon for our residents and visitors. We knew that having the farm here would be a bit of fun for everyone, especially as some find it difficult to go on many outings in our minibus.

“Our residents loved seeing the children all excited for Christmas and watching them join in with everything. Today we have seen the seen the enjoyment and the therapeutic influence animals and children can have on people.”

The Argus: A Shetland pony dressed as the Angel GabrielA Shetland pony dressed as the Angel Gabriel (Image: Barchester Healthcare)

The nativity scene was part of a larger event for care home residents and children which also involved Christmas card making and writing letters to Father Christmas.

The event, run by the care home on Sunday, November 4, was organised as a way of helping the residents, children and staff begin the festive period.

Alongside the activities, children were also able to make “reindeer dust”, and mulled wine and homemade treats were also available.

The children and other residents also sat down with milk and homemade cookies to hear June, one of the first residents at Lydfords Care Home, read The Night Before Christmas to the group.

June said: “I used to volunteer at the hospitals and read to people there. It was a lovely moment today having everyone listen to the story and I will be setting up a regular group with the local toddler group and school.

"Today was very enjoyable and it was wonderful that the animals were free to roam amongst us.”

The Argus: June, the care home's oldest resident, reading The Night Before ChristmasJune, the care home's oldest resident, reading The Night Before Christmas (Image: Barchester Healthcare)

Lydford care home looks after up to 36 residents by providing respite care as well as long term stays and caring for people with dementia.