In the countdown to next summer’s Olympic Games, schoolchildren in the Catholic Diocese of Salford, inluding those at Thorneyholme Primary, Dunsop Bridge, are taking part in a “Relay of Prayer”.
Beginning at the Dunsop Bridge School, it will travel more than 400 miles, visiting 210 schools in the Diocese and finishing at a special service in Salford Cathedral on July 6th, 2012.
The aim of the relay is to mark the significance of the Olympic Games by looking at the links between religion and sport, as well as celebrating their common ability to bring people together. Each of the schools will be twinned with one of the 200 countries competing in the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Schools will then research their adoptive country to find out about the faiths, customs and practices of that country and to learn about the lives of children and young people there.
They will also discover which athletes their twinned country is sending to the Games and remember them and all the Olympic and Paralympic athletes in their prayers and assemblies.
Schools discovered which country they had been twinned with during a special launch event at Thornleigh Salesian College, Bolton, when ambassadors from each school witnessed their twinned countries being drawn from an “electronic hat”.
The event was also attended by celebrities including opera star Sean Ruane, world freestyle football champion Dan Magness, Bolton Wanderers manager Owen Coyle, Assistant Chief Constable Ian Hopkins (who has a special responsibility for all Olympic events in Manchester), and several Olympic athletes including Andrew Gordon-Brown, who represented South Africa in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and now works at Stonyhurst College.
The young pupil ambassadors who attended the event from Thorneyholme School were delighted to learn they had been twinned with The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, also known as North Korea.
Schools now have three months to prepare for the start of the Relay of Prayer, which will begin on Monday November 28th at Thorneyholme. Its pupil ambassadors will carry the torch to the next school on the route and present an assembly about their adoptive country.