ZUMBA enthusiasts from all over Lancashire filled Blackburn Cathedral for a two-hour charity ‘Zumbathon’ at the weekend.
Organised by the Blackburn Diocese ‘Ministry of Sport’ team, dancers and instructors moved and grooved to raise money for the BBC Children in Need appeal 2019.
The Cathedral swept the seats to one side to accommodate the group, providing a stage in the nave for the instructors.
Dancers came from all points of the compass: Colne, Accrington, Blackburn, Preston, Lancaster, Over Wyre, Whalley, Leyland and more … all displaying infectious enthusiasm for the chance to exercise in the Cathedral while gathering much needed funds for the good causes supported by Children in Need.
Some of the dancers were from Lancashire churches but many weren’t – having heard about the event through their local Zumba classes.
The two-hour event was promoted by The Church of England in Lancashire’s dedicated ‘Ministry of Sport’ team and launched on the night by Rt Rev Dr Jill Duff, Bishop of Lancaster.
Bishop Jill said: “The Kingdom of God is a party, as Jesus said, and this Zumbathon is a real party! Why not celebrate like this in our Cathedral where we can welcome people from all walks of life. The great thing is that we have people with faith and without faith celebrating together.”
The Rev Lesley Hinchcliffe, Vicar of Fence and Higham, and a member of the Ministry of Sport organising team, said: “My objective for the event is unashamedly missional: I hope that by bringing people into this amazing Cathedral for this event people will think ‘Wow - church isn’t what I maybe thought it was about …”
Instructor Sarah Green, who runs a Zumba class in Oswaldtwistle, was taking part for the first time, and described her excitement at being asked to contribute: “Zumba is an exercise party for everyone! I’m nervous as I’ve never been in front of a class of this size before, but mega-excited for the event!”
Zumba instructor Louise Ball, who has a class in Whalley, enthused: “It was a great night of socialising and fundraising. Zumba and the church go really well together.”
And Keith McIntosh, from St Andrew’s Church in Leyland and Sports Ambassador for Blackburn Diocese, added: “We are encouraging people to come through the doors of this wonderful and iconic building for the very first time. Children in Need has been a great charity that has lasted the course, and we are proud to support it. How much do its principles reflect the doctrine of our faith - love your neighbour as yourself!”