Villagers in Lindley were not to be deterred this weekend despite the gloomy forecast and brought their own sunshine for the first community picnic in the village.
The Big Picnic was the brainchild of the Revd Rachel Firth, vicar of Lindley who worked alongside her ecumenical partners to invite the local community to bring their picnics and come together to enjoy an afternoon of fun.
The local school, Lindley Junior School let the community have their school field for free, the Lindley Band provided the music, there was face-painting, a Punch and Judy Show and children’s entertainer, a bouncy castle, a cycle course for children and a prayer tent – all for free.
Said one participant: “No one ever does anything like this in Lindley anymore, and it’s brilliant. It’s a real community thing and just what we need.”
Local councillor Mark Hemmingway and MP Jason McCartney, both joined in – and it looks as if this could be the start of something.
Said the vicar of St Stephen’s, the Revd Rachel Firth: “I’m really pleased, everyone had such a good time and we are hoping it might grow into something more focussed, bigger and even better planned next year.
The Big Picnic was made possible by the former Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt Revd Stephen Platten who gave every church in the former diocese of Wakefield a gift of £100 to help create a community initiative to mark his tenth anniversary as diocesan bishop and to celebrate the Christian Churches year of mission, HOPE 2014. St Stephen’s Lindley chose to spend its Hope money on its Big Picnic.