Burnley school's VIP unveiling of unique project that aims to break down barriers between different faiths and cultures

'Be the change you wish to see in the world.'

Ghandi's moving quote was the parting message the former Mayor of Burnley Coun. Lord Wajid Khan gave to pupils at a Burnley primary school after he went along to unveil a unique project, one of his final duties before his civic year came to an end.

The Bridge project is the result of a collaboration between St Mary Magdalene's RC Primary and the Civil Service Local North West, a small team of civil servants.

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The theme of the project was ‘Bridging the Gap' and the ethos was to break down the barriers that can exist between different faiths and cultures.

The Mayor and Mayoress of Burnley at the unveiling of The Bridge project at St Mary Magdalene's RC Primary School

Launched in September last year the original eight week project was extended due to the pandemic.

Virtual presentations were given to the children by guests who were all of different religions, faiths and backgrounds. They discussed what their religion meant to them and promoted how, regardless of religion, we have shared beliefs in regards to friendship, inclusion and diversity.

Following the presentations, each year group at the school worked on their own piece of artwork displaying what friendship and diversity mean to them. Printing costs for the artwork, which take pride of place at the front of the school in Wellfield Drive, were paid for by David Fishwick.

The Mayor, who was joined by his wife and Mayoress Anam, congratulated the year one children, who were representing all the year groups, saying: "You have done your school, the town and the whole of humanity proud.

The banner artwork takes pride of place at the school in Wellfield Drive

"The most important message here is that we have to share the love, no matter where you are from, what your faith or culture is or even what football team you support.

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"We must make sure that hope triumphs because we have more in common that unites us that can divide us."

The Mayor also spoke about Building Bridges in Burnley, a partnership of faith organisations who are working with others to celebrate diversity, to promote dialogue and activities to develop understanding, to achieve equality and justice.

Probation officer Gabrielle Edmondson said: "With a lot of the media highlighting racial tensions in the world, this project has shown that children do not see colour and religion - they see friendship and working together as one. "

Other VIP guests at the unveiling included the leader of Burnley Council Coun. Afrasiab Anwar, and councillors Bea Foster and Charlie Briggs. And the youngsters were delighted when Burnley FC mascot Bertie Bee arrived to present them with a pennant signed by all the players.