Bishop joins in school’s birthday party

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu.
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu.

The Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu is to preach at an open air service for all pupils at Ripley St Thomas Church of England Academy in Lancaster today, Thursday September 25, marking the 150 year anniversary since the academy opened in 1864.

Ripley St Thomas has 1,750 pupils aged 11 to 18 on roll. Of these, 400 are in the Sixth Form.

Bishop Geoff Pearson.

Bishop Geoff Pearson.

All students will be attending the open air service, which starts at 1pm, along with teachers, parents, governors and friends of the academy.

The Archbishop of York said: “It is fantastic to join Ripley St Thomas as they celebrate God’s goodness over the last 150 years – the open air service allows for everyone to join in!

“Here’s to the next 150 years.”

Accompanying the Archbishop in the service, at which the school worship band will be performing, is the Rt Rev Geoff Pearson, Suffragan Bishop of Lancaster.

He said: “The whole ethos of Ripley St Thomas is all about developing young people in body mind and spirit to make a real difference in this world.”

Ripley principal Liz Nicholls said: “We are absolutely thrilled to welcome the Archbishop to Ripley for our special celebration.

“Much has changed at Ripley over 150 years but our core values of faith, service and hard work remain.

“Our young people make a huge difference every year through their commitment to the Archbishop of York’s Young Leaders’ award, through our own Ripley + and Tristar awards and through the Duke of Edinburgh’s award.

“I am sure Julia and Thomas Ripley would be very proud of them.”

In addition to the open air service, there will be an open day on Saturday, September 27 and a celebration on the founder’s birthday, November 3, with cake for the pupils.

Ripley was the gift of Thomas and Julia Ripley to the people of Lancaster and Liverpool.

For more information on Ripley St Thomas Church of England Academy, visit

The Archbishop of York’s Young Leaders Award is a school-based programme which aims to equip young people with skills to be a force for good in their local communities and encourages active citizenship from a young age.

The awards are available at Key Stages 2, 3, 4 and post 16.

For more information about the awards, go to