A GROUP of Eden Valley primary schools has teamed up with a Liverpool High for a special teddy bear pilgrimage for Lent.

Pupils from Long Marton, Warcop, Great Asby, Milburn and Temple Sowerby primaries have waved off five bears for a 40 day stay in Merseyside.

The PilgrimEd initiative has been developed by Liverpool teacher, Peter Bull, who is a regular visitor to the Temple Sowerby area with help from the Rev Sarah Lunn, Team Rector of the Heart of Eden Ministry Team.

“During one of his stays in the area Peter came to Long Marton church one Sunday and saw our church teddy bear," said Ms Lunn. "He asked why we had a teddy and I explained that it was to help connect with children and young people.

"That helped spark the idea for the bears’ pilgrimage. This is a wonderful opportunity for the children – through the journeys of their teddy bears – to learn more about different faiths, city life and different schools.”

The pilgrimage will see the bears visit churches, a mosque, a synagogue and Liverpool primaries as well as spending a week with Merseyside Police. There will be daily blogs made available for the children back in Cumbria.

This week, ten pupils from Alsop High School in Liverpool, where Peter teaches, travelled to Temple Sowerby CE Primary to collect the bears for the start of the pilgrimage. They joined Cumbrian pupils in an assembly, before releasing 40 balloons to highlight the 40 Acts of Kindness project. Alsop students later visited Long Marton church.

Peter said: “It was lovely to take our students away from their urban setting and watch them interact and engage with school children in a rural environment.”

The initiative forms part of FAITH 2017 through which schools in North Liverpool have pledged to work together for the common good and encourage collaboration between people of different faiths and cultures.