Youth Village Opening
The 5th July 2010 will always be a special day for youth ministry in the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle because of the official opening of the Youth Village by Ant and Dec and blessing by Bishop Seamus Cunningham. Over 400 people, representing schools, parishes and community groups from around the diocese gathered to celebrate and mark the opening of the Youth Village which houses the Youth Ministry Team (YMT). The Youth Village has en-suite facilities to provide opportunities for over 90 young people to stay at any one time.
The official opening was presided over by the diocesan Bishop, Seamus Cunningham who addressed the crowds and spoke of his dream to allow every young person in diocesan schools the opportunity of a residential retreat at the Youth Village. Fr. Dermott Donnelly, Director of Youth Services, paid tribute to the many volunteers who over the years had made a fantastic contribution to the youth ministry in the diocese. He also thanked the fundraisers and those who supported the work financially. He thanked his younger brother Dec and his other half Ant for their support with fundraising.
After the speeches a moving liturgy took place focusing on the Gospel of John10:10 when Jesus said ‘I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full’. After the Gospel was proclaimed by Bishop Ambrose Griffiths, Bishop Emeritus, the site was blessed and the opening plaque was unveiled by the family of the late Bishop Kevin Dunn, the former Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle.
Ant and Dec then came forward with the two bishops and Fr. Dermott and ‘pushed the button’ to officially open the Village, balloons and confetti canons marked the occasion and the celebration concluded with the singing of ‘How Great thou Art’.
The button was the actual button that is used on Ant and Dec’s TV show, ‘Push the Button’ and was borrowed for the day’s celebration. The TV celebrities, when giving interviews to the waiting media, said how they watched the youth village move from a dream to a reality and how proud they were to be part of it.