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Blessing Ceremony for Wilton Centre

by Michael Ford last modified 05 Nov, 2021 10:53 AM

The Bishop of Salisbury, Nicholas Holtam, blessed the foundations of a new Diocesan Education Centre in Avenue Way, Wilton yesterday (Tuesday 31 January).

Blessing Ceremony for Wilton Centre

Attendees gather and chat at the site for the new Diocesan Education Centre

The event was also attended by the Mayor of Salisbury, Councillor John Abbott JP; the Mayor of Wilton, Councillor Ivan Seviour; the Chair of the Board of Education, Sir Al Aynsley-Green; the Director of Education, Chris Shepperd; the Diocesan Secretary, Lucinda Herklots; and pupils and staff from Woodford Valley School.

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Mr Shepperd said, “The real celebrities here are the children and the purpose of this centre is to improve what the diocese does for the children and young people.”

The Mayor of Salisbury said, “One of the things that impresses me as a retired teacher is the need for some degree of moral education to continue.”

He added, “To see the Diocesan Board of Education and your ongoing work with education in general and with schools, is, I think, quite laudable. It’s very important and should continue.”

In his address, the Bishop said, “This is an incredibly important moment. The church has been involved in schools for hundreds of years and the development of education in this country has really grown out of the life of the church.”

“Now, in our generation, we’re beginning something new in the way in which church schools- two hundred church schools- are supported across the Diocese, laying the foundations of a new Education Centre and providing facilities that will support that work.”

Woodford Valley pupils contributed their own prayers during the service.

Sir Al concluded, “In my view, and in the Board’s view, it’s the start of a real journey to look after these youngsters who are the lifeblood of our nation.”

He added, “We see ourselves not at the top of a pyramid, with the rest of the Diocese ‘down here’: turn it upside down. How can this centre actually support the work of our schools, our parishes, our communities not just in Wilton or in Salisbury but across Dorset, Wiltshire and the whole of our territory? What an amazing challenge we actually have- and we’re up for it!”

The staff of the Board of Education will continue serving the church schools and parishes in the Diocese. As well as offering support, training and resources to all those who work with children and young people in schools and parishes, the centre is also available to external agencies to hire for continued professional development.

Staff anticipate moving into the new centre in August 2012.


The Diocesan Board of Education provides support for teachers, governors, parents and parish workers, including clergy, in Wiltshire, Dorset and beyond. Advice is available for RE, PSHE, Collective Worship and work with families, young people and communities.

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Further information contact
Sandi Hammer
01722 428420,

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