OVER 300 pupils from Rawdon St Peters Church of England Primary School joined hands, to ‘clip’ their local church, and commemorate St Peter’s Day with ‘the noisiest prayer in Leeds’.

The ceremony, which is known as the “clipping of the church” and dates back to Anglo-Saxon times, saw 314 pupils join hands to form a complete circle around the church – in effect giving the church a hug.

Updated to reflect more modern-day customs, Headteacher Lynette Clapham rang the church bell as pupils aged from four to 11 years old gave a roaring cheer of “God Bless Rawdon!” in unison.

Whilst rare in the UK, the tradition of ‘clipping the church’ has been preserved at Rawdon St Peter’s School, with every pupil who was able, taking part. The first loud cheer was done in a circle facing inwards as a means of the pupils showing thanks for one another; the second was done facing outwards, with hands still held, to give a cheer of thanks for their community.

Prior to clipping the church, the children gathered inside to hear the story of St Peter and how it relates to the modern day. Led by Reverend Rachel Ford, the ceremony also marked the fifth anniversary of her ordination, having previously worked as a teacher.

Pupil Roberta of Rawdon St Peter’s C of E Primary School rings church bell with Headteacher Lynette Clapham Pupil Roberta of Rawdon St Peter’s C of E Primary School rings church bell with Headteacher Lynette Clapham (Image: submitted)

Headteacher Lynette Clapham said: “It is important for our school to celebrate our connection with the church, community and one another in both a meaningful and fun way. Preserving this tradition is a great way of doing this.”

She added: “It was a joy to be part of such a long-standing tradition that the pupils clearly enjoyed – it was great to hear them making so much noise!”

Reverend Rachel said: “The significance of cheering outwards as well as inwards, reflects our belief that along with celebrating one another, we are also here to bring blessing to the wider world, and that feeling was palpable at today’s service.”

Rawdon St Peters Church of England School is open to all pupils, of all denominations, from 4 to 11 years old.

For more information about the school, contact headteacher Lynette Clapham on 0113 2504201, email office@rawdonstpeters.co.uk or visit www.rawdonstpeters.org.uk