A SPECIAL service was held in Warrington to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Christmas carol, Silent Night.

'Stille Nacht' at the Unitarian Chapel in Cairo Street marked the bicentenary of the first performance of the famous song, composed by Joseph Mohr and put to music by Franz Gruber.

More than 60 people attended as the song was performed in German with a new English translation of the full six verses.

While there are many events celebrating the milestone year in Austria and Germany, Warrington was chosen for what is believed to be the only one of its kind to be held in the UK.

Andrew Page, a member of the Silent Night Society, explained: “I would have liked to have gone to Oberndorf in Austria for the Christmas Eve celebrations but unfortunately I’m not able to this year. So I decided to bring something of Oberndorf to Warrington instead—the history, the traditions, the lost verses, the original tune, the folk instrumentals and, perhaps most importantly, something new for Christmas."

Church minister The Rev Bob Janis-Dillon also read the story of Silent Night while the band performed some other folk interpretations including While Shepherds Watched their Flocks by Night.