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Page last updated at 10:18 GMT, Monday, 9 November 2009
Stamp of approval for one church
By Mark Jones

Shepherd and lamb
Stained glass window has been chosen for one of this year's Xmas stamps

A Pre-Raphaelite stained glass window in one Wiltshire church has been chosen for one of this year's Christmas stamps from Royal Mail.

The stamp features the head and shoulders of a shepherd holding a lamb.

The strong, colourful image is being used on the £1.35 stamp this christmas.

The window at St Mary's, Upavon was created by artist Henry Holiday, whose work is also featured on the First Class and 56p stamp.

St Mary's was first approached a year ago when Royal Mail asked the vicar if a photo could be taken of the window.

The Reverend Hugh Hoskins said: "My wife wrote to the Royal Mail two years ago to say that there were too many secular scenes on their stamps and not enough images of the nativity or the church at Christmas."

"As a result of this, they asked me about the window which went to a committee and was eventually chosen."

The church is set just on the edge of Salisbury Plain and Reverend Hoskins thinks it's the church's location which helped swing the decision to include it in this year's set of stamps.

my wife complained to Royal Mail about the lack of Christian images on stamps at Christmas
Rev Hugh Hoskins

"The window is very strong, it's a rural church and when we think of shepherds on the Plain that ties in with the nativity."

Villagers in Upavon are very excited about the stamp and Hugh Hoskins said it's great news for the area: "News travels fast here and I walked through the village the other day and it took quite a time to get down the street because people feel happy about this."

"They also feel strongly that their faith at Christmas is often overtaken by other secular things at this time of year. This sort of redresses the balance."

The move to use these images follows a revival of interest in the Pre-Raphaelite movement.

This surge in interest saw a major exhibition earlier this year on artist John William Waterhouse at the Royal Academy of Arts, in London.

Ormesby window chosen for stamp
17 Sep 09 |  Religion & Ethics


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