AN “Olympic torch” was carried over Pendle Hill by representatives of St Michael and St John’s RC Primary School in Clitheroe as part of Salford Diocese’s Relay of Prayer.
“Although the Ribble Valley is not included in the official Olympic Torch route, the spirit of the games will be kept alive by Salford’s 208 Diocesan Schools,” explained Monsignor John Corcoran, priest of St Michael and St John’s RC Church.
At the launch of the event back in September, each of the 208 schools in the Roman Catholic diocese were paired with one of the countries taking part in this year’s Olympic games.
“The aim of the relay is to encourage our children to look at the cultural, sporting and religious links between countries and so celebrate this coming together of the world family,” he explained.
“Each school will research the customs of their twinned country and, having received the Torch of Prayer from a neighbouring school, will carry, drive, jog, run, walk or in some other suitable manner convey the torch to the next school and deliver an assembly about their particular country.”
With this in mind, last Tuesday the torch was transported over Pendle Hill by tractor and delivered to pupils from St Michael’s and St John’s, who had travelled by minibus to Sabden’s St Mary’s RC Primary School.
“The children then ran behind the tractor up the road to St Mary’s School carrying the torch proudly before them,” added Mr Vincent Murray, headteacher of St Michael and St John’s.
The torch had previously been carried from St Augustine’s RC High School, Billington, via Oakhill College at Whalley, to St Michael and St John’s. After arriving at St Mary’s in Sabden, pupils from St Michael and St John’s gave a presentation about their twinned country, East Timor.
“The children from all three schools joined in with great spirit and I know that the underlying theme of world harmony and fellowship was evident to all,” added Mr Murray.
Back in November, 27 students from Thorneyholme Primary School in Dunsop Bridge took the first leg of the 449 mile (722km) journey to the next school in Chipping, transporting the baton by tractor. The electronic torch, which has been specially designed to overcome the winter weather, will finally be welcomed into Salford Cathedral by the Bishop of Salford on Friday, July 6th.