Norwich Cathedral gets a flock with a difference

This year's harvest celebrations at Norwich Cathedral will stand out from the herd when a different kind of flock joins the congregation.

Ninety-nine brightly coloured life-sized sheep will be at the cathedral for the harvest weekend and on Friday Bishop Graham James blessed the woolly animals in his capacity as chief shepherd of the Diocesan flock.

Year seven pupils from Sprowston Community High School created the collection as part of a cross-curricular day combining art and personal development. The school project was led by the cathedral's artist in residence, Canon Jim Whitlock.

Bishop Graham James said: 'It's wonderful to see the cloister full of colourful sheep.

'It's a great way of brightening our harvest festival and for the pupils themselves to learn about leadership and authority along with doing something so creative. There's a lot to this that's more than just the art and I'm absolutely delighted to be a part of it.'

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Canon Whitlock said: 'The children spent the day looking at leadership and how to follow as well as how to lead. The sheep look alike from one side, but on the other side they have painted Picasso-inspired portraits of themselves.'

Mini crosiers were handed out to the congregation.

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Canon Whitlock added: 'They will remind us of our vocation to care for others, to look for the lost or those in need, and to find God's way in our own life's journey.'

Head of art at Sprowston Community High School, Rohan Mason, said: 'We had all 260 students in year seven get involved with personal development based on the theme of leaders and followers. The idea was that they would represent different types of people within our society.'

Ten student representatives also attended the blessing.

Pupils Rose Taylor-Townshend and Katy Cossey, both 11, attended the blessing and Katy got to wear the Bishop's mitre.

Rose said: 'I'm really excited and proud.

'It's nice to do something like this as we are new to the school.'

Miss Mason will also be submitting some of the pupils' work to The Big Draw, a national campaign to get children drawing.

The sheep will be moved into the cathedral in time for the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association Harvest Service at 3.30pm tomorrow

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