Belvedere and Calder Vale Sports Club is the venue later today (Friday, July 14) for the fifth and latest cricket match between a side representing The Church of England in Lancashire (Blackburn Diocese) and Lancashire Council of Mosques (LCM).
But this year there is a unique culinary twist to the event ... as TV chef Andi Oliver, host of the BBC's Great British Menu, is joining the fun as part of a forthcoming new cookery show to be aired later this year on the BBC.
There will be entertainment, food sourced from the best local producers and the main event - the inter-faith cricket match - weather permitting of course as it's a bit changeable at present, although filming will still take place in some form. The match is due to start at 5pm.
Diocesan Communications Manager, Ronnie Semley, will be there to feature some coverage on our Diocesan social channels and he will be joined by photographer Clive Lawrence. Media coverage will follow on the back of the event via a Diocesan news release.
The match will be filmed for the BBC by South Shore Productions (makers of Hairy Bikers and Freddie Flintoff’s Field of Dreams) so if you decide to go along to watch you should be happy to appear on camera.
The Diocesan team is made up of both clergy and lay members from across Lancashire whilst teachers, clerics and members of mosques made up the LCM side.
Members of the Diocesan side are as follows ...
Rev. Jordan McDermott, from Accrington United Benefice is Captain of The Church of England in Lancashire’s team and said today: "It is wonderful how this interfaith, Clergy versus Imams cricket match has developed.
"The relationships which we have fostered are having a real impact on the communities of which we are a part. The cricket is always closely contested, and very competitive - but above all, it is good fun.
"To be able to have the game televised as part of a BBC series looking at community cohesion is a fantastic opportunity to showcase just how superb the interfaith relations in Lancashire are, and how far they have come.
"I can't wait to get back onto the pitch with our friends and enjoy spending time with them (and hopefully beating them) once again."
The main Umpire is Dave Thompson but Rt Rev. Philip North, the new Bishop of Blackburn, will be there to take a turn umpiring while the mosques team also features the current Leader of Burnley Council, Councillor Afrasiab Anwar.
Bishop Philip remains a strong advocate for all kinds of projects aimed at enhancing community cohesion across the County and said: "As in previous years, the match today embodies love and friendship between people who live side-by-side in our County.
"The match has always been well-received and has attracted attention far and wide as a fixture and I am delighted this year that Andi and the BBC have come along to film the event for their new BBC programme.
"The importance of working together and towards good community cohesion cannot be overstated and this filming will highlight this and take the profile of the match to new heights."
Ronnie Semley, July 2023