Thousands of children from a Coventry academy have received a special delivery to mark Maundy Thursday.

More than 3,500 pupils from the Romero Catholic Academy, which includes seven primary schools and a secondary school based across the city, have received a hot cross bun and prayer card as part of their Easter celebrations.

They were delivered by Cardinal Wiseman Catholic School’s new Lay Chaplain Tom Machin, who will not only work at the secondary school but provide support across all seven primaries.

Tom, originally from Stoke-on-Trent, studied law at Bangor University before deciding to take his career in a different direction.

He then spent a year working at Alton Castle Retreat Centre and then went on to become a Lay Chaplain at St Margaret Ward, in Stoke-on-Trent, before being appointed as a programme leader at the Briars Retreat Centre, in Nottingham, and finally returning to Alton Castle Retreat Centre as assistant director.

Tom is now looking forward to making a lasting impact on the lives of the young people across the Academy.

He delivered the hot cross buns and prayer cards alongside Assistant Lay Chaplain Beth Mitchell and said “I’m very excited to begin my position as Lay Chaplain at Cardinal Wiseman and work with all of the schools within the Academy.

“A number of people made a lasting impact on my life when I was younger, so I now want to give something back and support other young people.

“Beth and I will be working with the children to inspire them to have a relationship with Jesus and show that faith is part of their everyday lives.

“We’ve also launched a YouTube channel, Chaplaincy at Wiseman, to demonstrate that faith is accessible. Anyone can subscribe to the channel and it can also be used by teachers to support them in leading acts of worship.

“Another focus of ours will be working with the pastoral team to support pupils with their wellbeing. We are keen to be a friendly ear and show support to anyone that needs us.

“We really enjoyed delivering the hot cross buns and prayer cards to the children.

“Easter is a very important time in the church calendar, so it was excellent to mark Maundy Thursday with something as symbolic as the hot cross bun. We hope all of the children enjoyed them.”

Tom worked with Tom O’Reilly, Catering Manager at the Romero Catholic Academy, to organise the deliveries.

Tom said: “It is fantastic when we are able to link food to the curriculum in this way.

“It involved sourcing a huge amount of hot cross buns, but one of the benefits of the Academy taking its catering in-house means that we are extremely agile and can react quickly to benefit the children.”

PICTURE CAPTION: From left to right – Andy McConville (Principal, Good Shepherd Primary School), Esther (year six), Morgan (year six), Beth Mitchell (Cardinal Wiseman Lay Chaplain) and Tom Machin (Cardinal Wiseman Lay Chaplain).