THE pupils of Uplands School brought bright smiles to the faces of shoppers on Friday evening as they performed to mark the opening of the Orbital’s Christmas market.

Gathered under the centre’s Christmas tree, the children, who all have severe or profound learning difficulties, performed a selection of carols and chart hits to get the crowd into the festive spirit.

Jamie Turner, the Orbital Centre Manager, said: “They’ve been fantastic, having the choir here is really uplifting.

“It’s a really nice way to launch the Christmas market, to get the children down and have a sing-song round the tree.”

On Tuesday at 5pm the children of Abbey Meads Primary School will also get a chance to perform at the Orbital and on Wednesday, at 5.30pm, it will be the turn of Haydon Wick Primary.

Paul Ashman, the Creative Arts Lead at Uplands School, said: “It was a lovely evening, really nice to see a good crowd here to support us.

“As always, it’s just really nice for us to get out school choir out into the community – music and singing is a very important part of our curriculum so we like to be able to go out and show what we work on and what the children are capable of.

“One of our biggest focuses is teaching those life skills that they can take into their everyday lives.

“The kids really enjoy it, it’s a chance to get out of the school and it helps with their self-esteem and lets them grow in confidence.”

Among the crowd of onlookers providing backing vocals for the choir was North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson, whose new community office overlooks the Orbital.

Justin said: “I was really proud to recommend the amazing Uplands School choir to officially open the Christmas market.

“They lit up the Orbital with their high spirits and festive singing. It was a great way to kick start the Christmas season.”

The Christmas market will run from now until December 29.