STUDENTS from Saints Peter & Paul Catholic College school in Widnes started off the festive celebrations with a special Christmas Party and afternoon tea for senior citizens.

More than 100 elderly guests attended the event, watching performances from the school choir, orchestra and jazz band while students served them afternoon tea.

Michelle Saunders, music teacher, organised the Senior Citizens Christmas Party – which has been running for 20 years – with students getting involved in every aspect of the day.

The festivities also see every class at the school creating hampers out of donated gifts and food items, some of which are given out as prizes for raffles and games of bingo at the Christmas Party, while many others are donated to local food banks.

Commenting on the event, Ms Saunders said: "Local events that bring together people from all sides of the community are so important.

"Teenagers have such a bad reputation sometimes but the students here are so determined to do what is right and give back to their local area.

"We run a number of events throughout the year, but our Christmas Party is always the most popular, with people clamouring for tickets.

"It's fantastic to see the teenagers interacting with our guests and looking after them – it's enough to give anyone the Christmas Spirit."

Attendee Anne Smith: "We've been attending this event for a long time as we started coming when our grandchildren were at the school and, although they're at university now, we still love to come and catch up with neighbours and old friends from the St Wilfred's parish.

"It's a lovely community event that is a great way for local people to socialise and support the school at the same time.

"Mrs Saunders and her team who organise it are so dedicated, and she does a truly amazing job here.

"All in all, it’s one of my favourite events of the Christmas season and I always look forward to it!"

Other attendees Mary and David Lamb said: "It's our second year here and such a good community event. Our neighbour's daughter comes to the school and we really like to support her in everything she does as she’s such a lovely girl.

"The school events are always done so well!"

Rose and Tommy Kennedy added: "All our children attended the school and now our grandchildren come here as well so we like to support it as much as we can.

"The Christmas lunch is a wonderful community event that lots of thought has gone into.

"Thank you for giving us the opportunity to come!"