Monday, 3 June 2013


This afternoon I'm at Leicester Cathedral, helping out with a visit of Year 5 pupils from Sandfield Close Primary.

This is the second of four visits in two days to local places of worship, arranged in association with The Mighty Creatives (a charity based in Leicester's LCB Depot, working across the East Midlands to champion young people's creativity and innovation).

The group is kitted out with cameras of different kinds (for stills and video), digital voice recorders and good old fashioned paper, pens, pencils and crayons. Artwork that the children produce as an outcome of their visits will be on display under the title, "Faith in Neighbours" in the Mezzanine at Curve as part of An Indian Summer later this month.

We weren't expecting the services of a guide (so I've spent some time boning up on what I think the children need to know, including spending an hour yesterday afternoon, during which time I had useful chats with the Dean and Verger) but I'm glad to say that we do have one after all. Bev Farrand is on volunteer duty here today and she steps forward to give us her time and the benefit of her knowledge. Much appreciated, Bev!

A few of the boys venture outside with a very expensive camera, so I keep tabs on them. While I'm doing that, I notice a woman is standing nearby, gazing quizzically at me. I don't recognise her, but return her smile. She comes over and asks if I'm George Ballentyne. When I reply that I am and ask if we've met before, she says we haven't, but she recognises me from my brief appearance last week on East Midlands Today. I wonder if this is how Matt Smith feels! As I often do when taken by surprise, I make an incongruous remark: "I've trimmed my eyebrows since then", I say.

This morning we were at the Jain Centre, Oxford StreetTomorrow morning we'll be visiting BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Gipsy Lane; in the afternoon, the Islam Information Centre, Highfield Street.

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