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M&S Christmas advert by The Greatest Showman director Michael Gracey stars Valley Invicta Primary School Majorettes from Maidstone

A group of majorettes have gone from playground performances to a role in this year's M&S Christmas TV advert.

The Valley Invicta Primary School Majorettes, from Maidstone, have been featured in this year's M&S festive clothing and home ad.

Valley Invicta Primary School Majorettes feature in the M&S Christmas ad
Valley Invicta Primary School Majorettes feature in the M&S Christmas ad

The retail giant has partnered with giving platform Neighbourly to share £1 million between community groups, after 69% of local community groups reported a rise in pressure on services but a drop in funding.

Neighbourly and M&S worked together to identify the 1,000 organisations which will receive funding, as well as shortlisting nine to feature in the TV campaign.

The Valley Invicta Primary School Majorettes is an after-school club made up of 12 girls which meets at the school in Vinters Road, Maidstone.

It is the brainchild of a former British Solo majorette champion whose aim was to share her passion for baton twirling and introduce the activity to as wide an audience as possible.

The group has only ever performed in the school playground, making their debut in M&S’ Christmas campaign even more special.

Stephanie Clarke, from Valley Invicta Primary at East Borough, said: "I have worked at the Valley Invicta Primary School for more than 30 years and the majorettes are such a fantastic team with brilliant pupils.

"We’ve only ever performed on our school playground, so we almost can’t believe that we will be appearing on TV screens up and down the country.

"We have been trying to refurbish the playground where we train and perform but, as with most things, the cost is more than we imagined. The donation from M&S will really help to make our vision a reality."

M&S has partnered with Neighbourly to support 1,000 community groups this year. Picture: M&S
M&S has partnered with Neighbourly to support 1,000 community groups this year. Picture: M&S

The ad, directed by the film-maker Michael Gracey who is best known for directing The Greatest Showman, is set on Christmas Day in a quiet cul-de-sac and features a series of thoughtful gifting moments.

Every time an M&S gift is opened inside a home, there is an unexpected occurrence which disrupts families' Christmases and draws them to the street outside to find it taken over by the community groups who will benefit from M&S donations.

Anna Braithwaite, M&S clothing and home marketing director, said: “Christmas is a time that brings families and communities together and we know customers are determined to protect those celebrations.

"Through our campaign and product ranges we want to help make that possible, providing much-needed funds to the incredible groups that light up our local communities and by doubling down to deliver the exceptional trusted value our customers want – as they seek out more considered, stylish and thoughtful gifts.

"There really is no better feeling than giving – and we hope this feel-good campaign puts a smile on our customers’ faces this festive season."

Neighbourly chief executive Steve Butterworth added: "M&S's Christmas campaign is a brilliant celebration of kindness and a timely reminder of the importance of community at a time when support at a local level is needed more than ever."

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