Over thirty children from Lapage Primary School in Bradford gathered together to celebrate their achievements as Bradford Cathedral invited staff, school children and members of the congregation to celebrate the first anniversary of the re-dedication and refurbishment of the Cathedral bells. Also present was Richard Ballantine, executive Head of the Nurture Academies Trust.
The event also saw the current group of Community Heritage Volunteers receiving certificates to mark their achievements. The celebration was a culmination of two years of work between the Cathedral and Lapage Primary School, which saw many of the children working as guides and welcomers at the Cathedral, and they used this knowledge to introduce different elements of the historic building to their parents and other visitors to the event.
The baton was handed over from one year group to the next back in January, with the next handover due in October as the project continues into its third year.
The special event was introduced by the Very Revd Jerry Lepine, Dean of Bradford, who praised the pupils for their achievements and hard work and spoke about how Bradford Cathedral is a building that offers a shared heritage, and that the history of Bradford is wrapped up in its walls. “It’s the history of this City, and it’s your history.”
The World War I Memorial Bells Project, now the Cathedral’s Community Heritage Volunteer Project, was led by Heritage Education Officer Diane Hadwen, inspired by the ‘Active Citizenship Project’ run at the school that involves year five children:
“Each school year does something different and Lapage were keen to work with the Cathedral, and at the same time we were at the beginning of the Heritage Bells project, and it just seemed such a great idea to work together in partnership.
“The children helped with research and then with the delivery of the project at the Cathedral.”
The project has seen the confidence of the primary school pupils flourish.
“One of the things that is really obvious is how confident the children are and how comfortable they are in a place of worship that might not be their own. Although it’s a Christian place of worship, most of these children are not from a Christian background, but we all share the heritage of the building; it’s the heritage of Bradford. It’s exciting seeing such different people getting involved with us here.”
The partnership is all set to continue:
“This school is one of six schools in a primary academy trust that goes across the whole of Bradford, so these children have welcomed pupils from other schools across Bradford into the Cathedral, and will continue next year. These children will pass onto another group of year five children and then the project will continue again.”
Teachers Mariya Mobeen and Nadia Obeidi were representing Lapage Primary School, the Active Citizenship leads for the project last year and this year respectively, and they worked alongside Diane and Bradford Cathedral to put this project together with Nadia bringing the pupils to the Cathedral in 2019 for the Community Heritage Volunteer project.
“It’s been a really good experience. They’ve learnt social skills and presentation skills, and confidence. And we’ve also worked with other schools and got them involved in it, and they’re hopefully going to take part next year too, as a wider project.”
“Throughout the year, we can see the children grow. The handover from year six to year five has become part of our curriculum, and each year we see a new group of children fresh and eager to learn. This form of peer mentoring is so effective, with children teaching one another. It’s helping them appreciate this shared heritage and that there is a wider community out there, especially as our school is just down the road. Some parents who have come today have walked down, yet it was their first time coming to the Cathedral.
“Projects like this make me really proud to be a Bradfordian. We can hear lots of negative things in the news [about Bradford] but our voices need to be louder. This project is such a great opportunity for our community and this experience has been invaluable; the children will never forget that they were part of this project.”