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Coronation: Big Help Out volunteers emulate call to service

12 May 2023

Diocese of Blackburn

Volunteers who tidied up the grounds of Holy Trinity, Freckleton, over the Coronation Weekend

Volunteers who tidied up the grounds of Holy Trinity, Freckleton, over the Coronation Weekend

THE Archbishops of Canterbury and York were among the thousands of people who gave their time on Bank Holiday Monday to support the Big Help Out — a national volunteering drive to mark the Coronation.

Archbishop and Mrs Welby served lunch at the homelessness charity Catching Lives, in Canterbury. Archbishop and Mrs Cottrell helped at a foodbank at St Joseph’s, York. In the past year, the foodbank, run by the Trussell Trust, has distributed 9500 food parcels, of which 4000 went to children.

Archbishop Cottrell said: “Serving and helping others has been a key theme of the Coronation weekend. . . If you haven’t given volunteering a try yourself, be inspired and encouraged. We can all make a difference.”

The foodbank manager, Adam Raffell, said that the day was about recognising “the enormous contribution of the 140 regular volunteers giving their time, week on week, to welcome people into our host churches, as well as collecting, packing, sorting, and transporting food across the city”.

Volunteers were celebrated at a service of thanksgiving in Gloucester Cathedral, which was attended by the Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence. And, at St Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Church, Kensington, in west London, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester attended a Coronation street party, where they met faith leaders from the Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, and Buddhist communities.

Big Help OutThe Archbishop of York and his wife, Rebecca, help at a foodbank at St Joseph’s, York

Coptic Orthodox Archbishop Angaelos of London said: “We have a principal foundation and base of volunteers that comes from our focus on children’s ministry and youth ministry, and today they were in their element.”

The Bishop of Blackburn, the Rt Revd Philip North, toured Coronation events, services, and volunteer drives across the diocese over the weekend. He said on Tuesday: “As a nation, and here in Lancashire, we have seen an extraordinary weekend, with real emotional swings. . . The whole weekend has shown the enduring power of the monarchy to bring people together.

“What we have witnessed in churches around the county is people reaching out into their community to serve in practical and pastoral ways, and to share the joy with their neighbours. That’s a beautiful thing to see.”

Twins ring in the King. Tony and Terry Stock, twin brothers aged 85, were among the bell-ringers who rang in the newly crowned King on Saturday. The brothers, with their friend, Terry Earle, have been ringing at All Saints’, Stisted, in Essex, for more than 70 years, and had rung for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, her jubilees, and her death, which, they told the BBC, they were “proud” to have done.

Mr Earle said: “I was a choirboy who couldn’t sing; so, I made up my mind, aged 15, ‘Blow this, I want to do something else.’ My grandfather, also a ringer here, said, ‘Why don’t you try ringing?’” He persuaded the twins to join him, and the friends have been ringing ever since.

Woman rescued from church tower. On Sunday afternoon, a woman was rescued from the top of Probus Parish Church — the highest church tower in Cornwall. It was open to the public as part of the Coronation celebrations. She had reportedly become ill after climbing the tower. A rescue operation involving a Coastguard helicopter, cliff rescue teams, the air ambulance, police, and firefighters was carried out.

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