Leamington couple's huge nativity set collection to be displayed in Kenilworth

John and Marjorie Carrier with some of their nativity sets
John and Marjorie Carrier with some of their nativity sets

A Leamington couple who have collected more than 100 nativity sets from around the world are to display their collection in Kenilworth soon.

Marjorie and John Carrier, of Derwent Close, have collected nativity sets since 2000, and take them around the country to show them off in various churches.

Among their collection are a Peruvian nativity set with llamas instead of sheep, a Russian set where the figures are Russian dolls, and a tiny set from Rattenberg in Austria.

Their nativity sets will be displayed at Abbey Hill United Reformed Church in Kenilworth from Tuesday December 4 to Sunday December 9.

John said: "It's quite an interesting collection because of the variety of materials and the way the figures are featured. We've got 112 sets at the last count, and they're from all over the world."

The couple were inspired to start collecting nativity sets after their daughter went to see an exhibition displaying many different sets by herself.

And John, a former reverend at Lillington Free Church and Radford Road Church, was interested in hiring the exhibition to display in his own churches.

When this request was declined, John thought he would start collecting sets with Marjorie.

Their collection grew and grew, and the couple are now in high demand around Christmas from churches wishing to display it.

Last year, they went to churches in Coventry, Leicester and Wellesbourne. And along with their short trip to Kenilworth, Marjorie and John will be taking their collection to Cambridge this year.

The couple love seeing people's reactions to the collection.

John said: "A little boy came in to see a display one time, and he said 'this is the third time I've been to see it', which was wonderful."

Although their collection is large enough as it is, John and Marjorie still browse the internet for any quirky or interesting sets to add to their collection.

John added: "If we see anything unusual, we'll get it. Last week we got a set where baby Jesus was in a hammock rather than a manger."

The display in Kenilworth will be open from 2 to 5pm on the weekdays, from 10am to 5pm on the Saturday, and 12.30 to 5pm on the Sunday. Entry is free.

Although most of the exhibits are 'view only' there will be a children’s table where youngsters can handle nativities and play with Nativity Fuzzy Felts. There is also an activity sheet they can complete as they tour the exhibition.