Arhcbishop of York to join Horbury’s Onward Christian Soldiers for Whit Walk procession

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The Archbishop of York will be joining the Whitsuntide procession through Horbury this weekend, to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Wakefield Diocese.

Whitsuntide celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit to the followers of Jesus and traditionally, there are parades and Whit Walks to mark the occasion.

The tradition of the Horbury Whitsuntide walk started in 1840 when Rev John Sharp led 500 children in a procession to celebrate the Pentecostal feast.

This year the march will leave St John’s Church, in Horbury Bridge, at 2pm and will proceed up Quarry Hill, through High Street, along Twitch Hill and will end at St Peter & St Leonard’s Church, where there will be a special service.

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, will join the Whitsuntide Procession to mark Wakefield Diocese’s 125th anniversary, and will be preaching at the service.

He will be accompanied by Couns Brian and Janet Holmes - the Mayor and Mayoress of Wakefield, the parish clergy and hundreds of school children. School choirs will also perform at the short service.

The procession will be a re-enactment of the traditional Whit Walks.

Marchers will sing ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’ as they parade through the town, accompanied by Horbury Victoria Brass Band,

The famous hymn was written by Rev Sabine Baring-Gould in 1865 for the children of Horbury Bridge.

They used to sing it as they marched up the steep hill into Horbury.

This weekend’s Whitsuntide procession will be the first in nine years.

Parish Priest, Father Brian Bell said: “We’re delighted that the Archbishop is joining us for our celebration of Pentecost.

“The procession is a delightful marker of local Christian heritage and this year the march also marks a special occasion, the 125th anniversary of the Wakefield Diocese.”