The Duchess of York has praised the 'incredible cohesiveness' between churches and church schools in Lancashire, on a visit to Burnley.
On a visit last week, the Duchess helped to lead the school assembly at Holy Trinity CofE Primary school, alongside Rev. Kat Gregory-Witham from St Matthew’s church, Diocesan Bishop, Rt Rev. Philip North and Fr Alex Frost also from St Matthew’s.
The connection between the Duchess and the town stems from an appeal during the pandemic, when Fr Alex reached out for support for the Burnley community.
Sarah’s Trust (and the Duchess personally) responded in a variety of ways, including delivering 500 food parcels.
“I also said that one day I would be there (in person) and today is that day. I think that keeping a promise is a major thing!”
Bishop Philip says: “The Duchess being here to highlight all that goes on in our churches and schools and in interfaith work and with our other amazing partnerships we have in this town is just the most wonderful affirmation of and encouragement of that work as we strive for an ever more cohesive town.”
Since the pandemic, Sarah Duchess of York has also supported the church and community with clothes and Christmas presents and has continued to stay in touch, helping hundreds in the town. Recently she even organised for a Christmas pantomime outing take Place for 60+ children.
Fr Alex reflected on the importance of her involvement: “To see the joy the Duchess has brought to the community and to the parish and schools; as well as to our partners, such as the football club, has made it a really joyous day.”
The Duchess said: “It was humbling to see the work of St Matthew’s Church in action at the lunch club and… to hear more about the brilliant work the Church is doing in schools and the broader community.”