Shocklach Oviatt Primary School Alice in Wonderland tea party

Rose Brown and Jim Carter

Rose Brown and Jim Carter - Credit: Paul Sweeney

Downton Abbey star Jim Carter was the special guest at a Mad Hatter’s tea party in Shocklach

The tables were turned when children at Shocklach Oviatt Primary School served tea to Downton Abbey butler, Mr Carson. Actor Jim Carter spent an afternoon at the school near Malpas after pupils wrote to invite him to their Alice in Wonderland tea party.

Children and teachers dressed in Mad Hatter style for the party in the school hall which had been specially decorated for the occasion.

‘It was a wonderful day,’ said Finola Jackson, who teaches at the school. ‘He was so lovely, he had the children in stitches. He was so natural and effortless.

‘When he replied to the children to say he’d be delighted to attend, he told them he would perform some magic tricks if they could answer three questions correctly. He asked them questions about Downton Abbey and luckily they managed to get them all right.

‘His tricks were amazing. Some of the Year Six children were sitting near him and were sure they’d be able to see how it was done, but they couldn’t, they were as amazed as the rest of the hall.’

The actor, who is also a trained circus performer, attended a fundraising event in the evening where he shared anecdotes and stories with parents and teachers