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Blackburn Cathedral is now home to one of the mass vaccination hubs against Covid-19 which has been set up by the Government and the NHS. 

From January 18, thousands of people will attend the centre every day to be vaccinated. The local council is coordinating free parking nearby to facilitate the vaccination work. 

Speaking on BBC Radio Five Live the Dean of Blackburn, Very Rev. Peter Howell-Jones described setting up the vaccination centre and the importance of being able to offer space in the building from a Christian perspective. 

He said: "Around six-eight weeks ago the logistics company came to get the whole space ready for the thousands of people who come each day. So in many ways the Cathedral has also now become this great hospitality centre ... and that, for us, is a really important thing ... in being welcoming to the community. Hospitality and welcome is at the heart of Christianity - we saw that with Jesus on the mountainside giving people food and drink."

The Dean (pictured being interviewed on site) was asked about the historic significance of the moment in the life of the Cathedral.

He commented: "At the beginning of the pandemic in March last year the closure of the Cathedral to public worship at that point due to the pandemic was an historic moment; it didn't even happen during the war.

"Now as we have reopened, to be part of this national mass vaccination roll-out very much puts us in the history books."

In a different interview on BBC Radio Five Live, the Bishop of Blackburn, Rt Rev. Julian Henderson commented: "We were absolutely delighted it was possible to make the crypt of the Cathedral available (for vaccinations); people have done an amazing job. 

"If you receive an invitation please do come to the Cathedral to receive your vaccination where there is a network of support. This is the way we are going to try to defeat this virus and this pandemic."

The news the Cathedral has become a vaccination centre has made headlines across the media. A selection of other coverage can be read by following these links ...





Ronnie Semley, January 2021