A VIBRANT toddler group that has been running for less than two years has helped a Musselburgh church to scoop a nationwide kirk film competition.

Northesk Parish Church submitted a winning entry for 'Show and Tell' depicting the design, creation and parade of a float themed on Jonah and the Whale.

Minister Reverend Alison McDonald said: "Northesk is part of Fisherrow which was historically the fishing community here and so the congregation had strong links to the sea.

"When we were looking for a theme for our float Jonah seemed ideal with its theme of boats and fish. We got the whole congregation involved in making the float. We asked people to knit fish so a lot of people were able to take away wool and knit fish at home."

The float was entered into the annual Musselburgh Festival last year thanks to the efforts of a number of the church’s groups.

Much of the work towards creating the float was done by the church’s weekly toddler group which was formed in the late 2016.

Set up by Family Worker Lorraine McBrearty, it began with a few children and parents, and grew to around 50 adults and youngsters attend the informal session each week.

Initially Lorraine only had a budget to purchase a large play mat, but through donations and a generous offer a £100 voucher from Ikea, there are now hundreds of toys available.

She said: "Our parents and tots group is a recent addition to our church but has proved really popular. I thought the children would enjoy painting the fish, cutting things out and doing some crafts. I feel that it really showed how the whole community of the church then got involved with the wider community.

"We were able to show Musselburgh Northesk Church at its best as we paraded along the street enjoying crowds of people waving us on."

Many of those who started at the toddler group also now attend the Messy Church which was started by Lorraine around the same time.

A prize of an ipad was presented by mission development worker and judge Rob Rawson on behalf of the Church of Scotland’s Mission and Discipleship Council.

He described the competition as an "absolute joy" to have been involved with.

He explained: "The whole point of the project is to encourage other congregations by showing what their church is doing.

We were looking for something that was informative, imaginative and inspirational. When you see the float going out in the crowd in the community it’s saying 'we are here,'This has been an absolute joy to do – a great project. There are people from all ages represented here. It’s an inclusive thing."

Next year Northesk Parish Church hopes to enter a float based on the theme of Noah.

Find out more about activities at the church by going to www.northeskchurch.org.uk.

To watch the film go to: www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzajKK6DTLM