Stretton Handley School writes:
On Tuesday, 3rd October, Stretton Handley Church of England VC Primary School had a very special visitor.
The Rt Revd Libby Lane, Bishop of Derby, kindly gave up her afternoon to join the children in a special Collective Worship service.
Staff, governors, parents / carers and members of St Mark's Church congregation were also in attendance.
The school's Church Council members led the service with prayers and the lighting of candles.
Bishop Libby gave an interactive talk to the children which included telling them what she did and what she wore.
She asked five pupils to come out to the front and allowed them to try on each part of her 'Episcopal vestments' and gave an explanation of what each part meant.
Also in attendance was Mr Ernest Fox, whose grandfather originally started the giving of a Bible to Year 2 pupils annually; he gave an explanation of how it all started.
His own father, Sam Fox, took over the tradition when the Sunday school ceased to run in 1960 and the Fox family have continued with the tradition, for which the school is extremely grateful.
On this particular occasion, pupils from Years 3 and 4 who had missed out before the Covid lockdown and unforseen circumstances also received a Bible.
Bishop Libby and Mr Fox presented the Bibles together.
In September 2021, St. Mark's Church started the tradition of giving out 'Special Bears', which came in a decorative bag with its own poem, to all the pupils attending the school.
This has now moved forward and each new starter receives their own "special bear" at the start of the new school year.
These have proved to be very popular and a source of comfort at times for the children.
This small gift confirms the link between the church community and school; let's hope it will continue to do so into the future.
Bishop Libby presented the new children with their own "special bear", but the biggest surprise of the afternoon was when the tables turned and Bishop Libby was presentedwith her own 'Special Bear' by one of the school church council members.
Knitted in purple wool, it came complete with it's own gold vestments showing the school badge.
Bishop Libby was very pleased to receive it and said she would treasure it.
A very pleasant afternoon was enjoyed by all in attendance with a wonderful atmosphere that was difficult to miss.