Thank God it’s Whit Friday...!

Date published: 11 June 2014

Manchester’s top Anglican cleric will make a joyous homecoming when he addresses crowds at Saddleworth’s annual Whit Walks on Friday.

The Bishop of Manchester, David Walker, will join church congregations at the traditional open-air service in Uppermill. The bishop, who lived in Friezland during his school years and regularly walked

with Mossley or Friezland as a child, is joining the procession for the first time since taking office last October.

He said: “I’m proud to take part in this important Christian tradition, which I remember vividly from my childhood. We come together on our Whit Walks as churches of different denominations, visibly demonstrating our deeper unity.”

He will join the march of Lydate and Friezland churches, converging on the Uppermill King George V playing fields at 11am. He will be joined by other marching bands and processions, including St Chad’s Church — accompanied by the Bishop of Middleton, Mark Davies — and Holy Trinity Dobcross, with the Archdeacon of Rochdale, Cherry Vann attending.

Later that day comes “the greatest free show on earth” - the Whit Friday band contests, which run across 11 villages and the wider area from around 4pm until 10.30pm or later. Signposted road restrictions will be in force until midnight.