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The Bishop of Burnley, the Rt Revd Philip North, has issued a statement in response to the flying of a 'White Lives Matter Burnley' banner at the start of the match between Burnley FC and Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium. 

In so doing, he joined with many leading voices from the town, including (from Burnley FC) Chief Executive Neil Hart; Manager Sean Dyche and Captain Ben Mee; as well as the local MP, Antony Higginbotham and the Mayor of Burnley, Councillor Wajid Khan.

Bishop Philip said today: "I was appalled and embarrassed by the banner that was flown over the Etihad stadium yesterday which slurred the name of our town. This is not the Burnley I know and very deeply love.

"The actions of those who chose to fly this banner take us back to some difficult memories in our town’s past. We will not go back to those days. We will not allow the voices of hatred and anger to overcome the voices of harmony and peace.

"As Bishop of Burnley I stand, in harmony, with so many others in this town in bitterly opposing racism, hatred and intolerance. I pray that this incident will be an opportunity for us to commit ourselves once again to building a town in which the preciousness and dignity of every person, made in the image of God, is respected and upheld."

+Philip Burnley  23.06.2020