A SEA of colour and the sound of children's voices filled Manchester Cathedral as school pupils took to the stage for a choral performance.

Dozens of children from St Luke's CofE Primary School in Bury and Whitefield Community Primary School were among an amassed choir of voices from seven schools who performed at the inaugural Manchester Sings event.

The heart-warming performance comprised a medley of songs and readings chosen for the poignancy of their words which told a human story of dreams, life’s setbacks and, ultimately, hope.

More than £700 raised during a collection has been donated to the Booth Centre, a day centre for homeless people, while families supported by charity Wood Street Mission will receive more than 150 Christmas gifts from Withington Girls’ School (WGS), who also participated.

WGS headmistress Sarah Haslam said: "We were expecting it to be a special performance but the children exceeded those expectations — they had memorised the words to all the songs and performed from the heart with such commitment."

The choir of Year 3 to Year 6 pupils performed before an audience of dignitaries, parents, teachers and visitors.

A St Luke’s mother described the afternoon as “absolutely wonderful” and said she had been moved to tears by the song True Colours.

Headteacher at St Luke's, Melanie Michael, said: "Without a shadow of a doubt the children loved the song choices and the buzz of performing in the Cathedral with other school children. Our staff team who accompanied the choir also loved the whole experience.”

Participants, which also included children from St Kentigern’s RC Primary, Wilbraham Primary, New Islington Free School and Broadfield Primary, had been busy rehearsing in the months leading up to the event on December 4, which was attended by the Lord Mayor of Manchester, the High Sheriff of Greater Manchester and the Dean of Manchester.

It was the first time the pupils from the seven schools had performed the six songs together as a choir.

WGS Director of Music Mrs Gilly Sargent said that she had been delighted to have received an encouraging note from Andrew Lloyd-Webber wishing the performers good luck.