THE boys of Bolton School raised the roof when they held their annual festival for the first time at the Victoria Hall.

Standing room only at previous concerts led to the popular event being moved to the hall in Knowsley Street in the town centre.

Parents, governors, teachers and friends took part in a evening of seasonal worship through songs and music.

The Rev Mark Cowling, the Young Adults’ Missioner for Bolton and Salford, opened the evening before year seven boys sang the opening verse of Once in Royal David’s City.

They were supported by a choir of several hundreds voices, with the audience then joining in.

Traditional Christmas carols were sung, as well as Michael Jackson’s Heal the World, De Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy and Glory to God, from Handel’s Messiah. They were accompanied by an 80 piece orchestra.

There were readings and speeches, and special tribute was paid to Nelson Mandela, and a Tweet by singer Jay-Z was referred to when he said that “by sitting Rosa Parks on that school bus allowed Martin Luther King to walk who allowed Barack Obama to run so that we now might fly”.

Headmaster Philip Britton brought the evening to a close and spoke of his pride that the school was part of the local community.