IT’S not every day he gets to bless an angel, but the Bishop of Newcastle has managed to do just that at a north Northumberland school.
Rt Rev Martin Wharton visited Ellingham C of E First School last Thursday to dedicate a new ambulance for cancer charity Daft as a Brush, which featured artwork designed by local pupils who have officially named it The Ellingham Angel.
After a special assembly in which guests were treated to songs and Bible readings, Bishop Martin was joined by pupils, staff and parents outside to say a prayer over the vehicle, which will transport cancer patients, who require chemotherapy or radiotherapy, free of charge to and from hospital appointments.
It is the latest in a fleet of customised seven-seaters provided by the charity, which was set up by local businessman Brian Burnie, formerly of nearby Doxford Hall.
Bishop Martin said: “I’m thrilled to be here with you all today. It’s a wonderful day to dedicate The Ellingham Angel and our gratitude is due to Brian Burnie and all of those who support his charity.
“I think your artwork is absolutely stunning. The word angel means messenger, and this ambulance is a messanger of love and hope from the children of Ellingham.”
Mr Burnie, who also attended the service, said: “This is the 10th ambulance to be added to our fleet and the 11th is about to be donated by the League of Friends of the Freeman Hospital.
“I was blown over by the design the children came up with.
“I think the artwork is so good that I’m hoping to have the original displayed in the Northern Centre for Cancer Care at the Freeman.”
Ellingham headteacher Diane Lakey said: “I am so proud of the children and staff who worked so hard on this project. The work of the charity fits in perfectly with our school ethos of caring for others.”
Pupils have embarked on another venture to support the charity, by selling toast at the school on the last Thursday of each month.
They also run a Fairtrade tuckshop, which raised £200 for a school in Uganda.
Mrs Lakey added: “We’re only a small school but the children know they can each make a real difference.”