Today I was very pleased to pay my first visit to the brand new Holy Trinity school in Athersley, which opened to pupils for the first time this term. It really is impressive and the Headteacher, Simon Barber is understandably delighted with the brilliant facilities he is able to offer to the pupils there.
Despite the torrential rain, today was a very special day to be at Holy Trinity, because the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu was paying a visit. It was fantastic to meet him and to hear him lead a liturgy in the school chapel. The pupils who also took part in the service displayed their incredible talents and really were a great credit to the school. A school that is already doing such important work in our community.
I had a very enjoyable chat with the Archbishop, he is easy going and highly entertaining company. We discussed the parachute descent he had made with the Red Devils to raise awareness of the plight of widowed servicemen. As Shadow Culture minister with responsibility for Heritage I also took the opportunity to raise the important issue of making sure that in the current economic climate, Churches are able to continue to conduct repairs and renovations so that they can best serve as hubs within our communities.
The Archbishop was even good enough to make sure I looked smart for our photograph!