AROUND 400 children from schools across Poole raised the roof of the Lighthouse theatre last night, kick-starting the festive season in style.

Youngsters from 15 first, primary and secondary schools took part in the annual Poole Schools’ Music Association Christmas Concert.

Festive favourites such as John Rutter’s Star Carol, I Saw Three Ships, and Celebrate the Joy of Christmas were sung by the children, who performed on the Lighthouse Arts Centre’s main stage.

The one-night only concert was preceded by a daytime rehearsal for all of the youngsters and was a real hit with relatives and friends in the packed audience.

Broadstone First School’s Gill McDonald, one of the music teachers involved, told the Daily Echo: “Everyone did brilliantly, through rehearsals and into the main performance.

“The funds raised, after the costs of the event are taken out, go back into the Poole Music Association to pay for other school projects.

“We performed in the Lighthouse’s main concert hall, it is a lovely venue to perform in.

“The children were all really excited about performing, they were really looking forward to it all day.”

The evening also featured a number of readings, and recitals by a combined secondary schools orchestra.

Gill said: “The majority of tickets were sold so we had a near full house, which was great.

“A massive thank you to everyone who took part - there were some fabulous performances from the children.”

The annual concert has been running in Poole now for more than 20 years.

It is the main fundraiser for the association and enables it to promote music in Poole’s schools all year round.

Poole’s Lighthouse Arts Centre has only recently reopened following a four-month closure, part of the centre’s £5.3 million upgrade. These improvements included a new main entrance.