Children, staff, governors and parishioners past and present welcomed Archbishop Bernard Longley to celebrate the 80th Anniversary of Our Lady and Saint Benedict school and parish.

The school and church used to share the school building until the local parish community of Abbey Hulton fundraised to build the wonderful church.

To mark this special occasion on Wednesday 26 June, a Mass of Thanksgiving, led by Archbishop Bernard, was held in the church.

In the run-up to the celebration the children learnt about the school and the parish and wrote prayers of thanksgiving. They participated in the Mass by singing hymns and writing bidding prayers.

Year 4 children planned, prepared and led a beautiful reflection - thinking of key words that they thought described the life of the school and church.

Pupils from St Margaret Ward Catholic Academy supported the school by playing the music for the mass.

Two past pupils - who now attend St Joseph's Catholic Academy - served on the altar alongside one of the school altar servers.

Following the Mass Archbishop Bernard joined the school for an afternoon tea-style lunch in the school hall, where there was a display of old and new photographs comparing the school and church past and present.

The children enjoyed looking at the old photographs and recognised key events such as The Crowning of Mary, First Holy Communion and sports day - which are timeless events that have not changed much over time.

Some of the parishioners also joined the celebrations and enjoyed looking at the old photographs… some even spotting themselves!

They shared stories with the Archbishop about their time in the school and discussed how it had changed.

After lunch, Archbishop Bernard walked through the school and spoke with each class individually. The children enjoyed telling him about their learning and were proud of their school.

It was a wonderful celebration and the perfect way to mark 80 years of Our Lady and Saint Benedict.

Photo Gallery by Mark Lear

80th Anniversary - Our Lady and Saint Benedict