The Bishop of Lancaster, Rt Rev. Geoff Pearson, threw the switch last night as he commissioned a major new ecumenical Blackpool Illuminations display which will shine this Easter and form part of this year’s world-famous light show in the autumn.
The Bishop led a special commissioning service at 8pm on a cold and windy seafront for around 100 people from local churches. He was joined by the Mayor of Blackpool, Councillor Kath Rowson, to light up the display opposite Uncle Tom’s Cabin on Queen’s Promenade.
Live tweets from the service, including more pictures and video, can be viewed on our Diocesan Twitter feed @cofelancs
The dynamic new illumination replaces a similar one that was a well-known fixture on the promenade but was destroyed in a severe storm a few years ago.
A charitable loan has helped get the new project off the ground but there is a major fundraising effort still under way to pay for it. Contributions are welcome.
The new light design and the associated fundraising campaign, were brainchilds of Rev. Canon Dr Simon Cox, Rector of Bispham All Hallows and Area Dean of Blackpool and Andy Divall, Blackpool Council Diversity Officer.
The project was adopted by Churches Together in Bispham, and designs from the Blackpool Council Illuminations Department were developed by Rev. Cox and Rev. Stef Dnistrianskyj (the Vicar of Anchorsholme) with help from Council Lighting Engineer, Richard Ryan.
The ecumenical initiative is owned by Churches Together in Bispham and supported by other ecumenical Fylde Churches, including Blackpool’s Anglican Churches, as well as the wider Churches Together in Lancashire (CTiL). The County Ecumenical Officer for CTiL is Rev. Anton Muller, Vicar of Scorton and Barnacre and Calder Vale.
Bishop Geoff said: “It has been fabulous to be here tonight to light up the promenade with this fantastic illumination. It’s even better than I hoped it would be and will be a beacon of hope and encouragement to everyone who sees it.
“This has been a fantastic initiative by Churches on the Fylde Coast and I encourage other churches across Lancashire to take part by donating towards paying for this display.
“But we aren’t just thinking about encouraging donations from our own County. People come from all over the UK and even abroad to view Blackpool’s world-famous illuminations.
“So we would welcome donations from anyone who believes, as we do, that the three million people who view the illuminations each year deserve to know more about the saving grace of Jesus Christ and, as the display says, he is ‘the resurrection and the life’.”
Rev. Cox added: “We are very excited to get to this stage of the project the fantastic display will remain switched on for the first time this Easter and it will be lit over Easter every year from now on, as well as during the main illuminations period later every autumn.
Rev. Cox added: “We expect it will be viewed annually by 3.5m visitors, and it has a lifespan of at least 15 years.
“The total cost of the project will be £25,000. We have already raised around £12,000 of this figure, including a generous donation recently of £5000 from CTiL, and this money is enough to allow us to commission the work, but we are obviously still looking for further donations.
“The cost works out at less than a ½p per predicted number of views over time and we want to encourage people in churches and church schools of all denominations across the County of Lancashire and beyond to contribute, collectively or as individuals.”
All donations made will go towards paying for the display. Any surplus will be retained for future maintenance work. More information is available on the Diocesan website information page here.
- Click here for the My Donate fundraising page to make your donation online. Gift Aid will add 25% to your donations.
- Donations can also be made by cheque or a Charity Voucher, made out to Bispham Parish Mission (Illumination) using this form and sending to Blackpool Illumination, All Hallows Rectory, 86 All Hallows Road, Bispham, Blackpool, FY2 0AY
- The account details needed for BACS/digital payment are Bispham Parish Mission RBS Bispham 161322 10005262
Please note, to save administration costs a receipt will only be provided on request