Pupils at Grace Darling C of E Primary School in Newbiggin-by-the-Sea and Duke’s Secondary School in Ashington have welcomed a very special visitor, The Right Reverend Mark Wroe, Bishop of Berwick.

Formerly the Archdeacon of Northumberland,the Right Reverend Mark Wroe was installed as the Suffragan Bishop of Berwick in January this year – only the second person to have received the title in living memory after the Diocese of Newcastle resurrected the role in 2016 following a 444 year hiatus.

Serving the areas between the Tyne and Tweed rivers, the Bishop’s role is vast and varied. Having been consecrated during the Covid-19 pandemic, this visit has been one of the first opportunities for the Right Rev. Mark to get out to meet some of the children and young people in the South East of the county.

During his visit, the Bishop was treated to a tour of the full Grace Darling C of E Primary School campus, visiting each class in turn to view their displays and find out how they were settling back into school after the summer holidays. He met with the school’s ‘Gardening Gang’ who look after the school’s outdoor spaces and spoke with staff about the school’s involvement in the Thrive programme for promoting positive mental health and wellbeing in children.

On arriving at the Duke’s Secondary School campus in the afternoon, the Bishop met with the school’s Principal, Russ Atkinson, and was shown around some of the classrooms where Covid-19 catch up sessions were taking place for students in critical exam years. The day was rounded off with a meeting of school leaders from across Northumberland Church of England Academy Trust (to which Grace Darling C of E Primary School and Duke’s Secondary School are members).

Commenting on his visit, the Right Reverend Mark Wroe, said:

“I’ve been really impressed by what I’ve seen today. The resilience that has been shown by teachers and pupils during what has been an incredibly challenging time for schools is just amazing and it’s great to see how people have come together to support each other. I’d like to thank Northumberland Church of England Academy Trust for having me today and I’ll look forward to visiting again in future.”

Alan Hardie, CEO at Northumberland Church of England Academy Trust, added:

“It was wonderful to have Bishop Mark with us today. At NCEAT, we value our close working relationship with the Dioceses of Newcastle and Durham and it is always a pleasure to host members of the clergy at our schools.”

For more information about Northumberland Church of England Academy Trust, visit www.ncea.org.uk.