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Church launches children's national hero hunt

Posted on: September 17, 2008 4:15 PM
Related Categories: England

The Bishop of Middleton, the Rt Revd Mark Davies, is launching the first ever poll to find the UK’s ‘most heroic job’ according to the nation’s children. The online survey, at www.HeroVote.org, was launched at a school in Manchester today.

The poll is part of the Halloween Choice campaign, led by the Church of England’s Diocese of Manchester, marking its third anniversary of exploring how to support and resource those parents and children who wish to mark Halloween in a positive, less “gruesome”, way.

Today’s launch of the search for the UK’s most heroic role – run in conjunction with The Children's Society – is part of encouraging a shift towards marking ‘All Saints’ Day’ (1st November) as a celebration of heroes and saints, and the ultimate triumph of good over evil. It marks the next step in the Church’s moves to encourage children to enjoy a great Halloween and to spark a wider public debate about the nature of our way of celebrating the date.

A list of 25 roles has been drawn up, based on the nominations of 100 children from a range of schools. It includes taxi drivers, supermarket workers, journalists, doctors, footballers and parents. Schools are being encouraged to download application forms or children can vote individually at www.HeroVote.org. The results will be announced on 27th October.

The Bishop of Middleton comments: “It is fascinating to see the range of jobs in the list and I will be watching the polling with interest. The Church has celebrated the lives of the saints for many years and the example that they set for Christians today. In a small way, this poll will hopefully encourage young people to look to the more everyday heroes around them as a stepping stone to exploring the lives and deaths of the saints that we mark on All Saints’ Day.”

In previous years, the Halloween Choice campaign led some of the country’s leading retailers to offer more positive Halloween products in addition to the usual fare of monster masks and costumes based on horror movies. Almost half (45 per cent) of the parents polled for the campaign in 2007 felt ‘strongly’ that there should be a choice of alternative Halloween goods for children, while among the youngest people interviewed (aged 18-24) the figure rose to nearly six in ten (58 per cent).

This year, the Church is also repeating its suggestion for people to rethink ‘Trick or Treat’. The Halloween Choice website (www.halloweenchoice.org) allows people to donate a cash ‘treat’ to The Children’s Society, helping the charity’s work in caring for and supporting young people in need.

The website includes resources for parents, schools and church congregations, many of whom will be running alternative ‘bright’ events to celebrate the Christian interpretation of Halloween.

Ends

Notes to editors

For general information or interview requests for the Bishop of Middleton, contact David Marshall at the Diocese of Manchester on 0161 828 1421 / 07836 224444. Photos from the launch event will shortly be available at www.halloweenchoice.org.

For more information on The Children’s Society, contact the charity’s Media Centre on 0207 841 4422.

Last year, the Halloween Choice campaign recommended a book called Better than Halloween, written by Nick Harding, Children’s Officer for the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham, and published by Church House Publishing. This colourful book contains an overview of the traditions of Halloween, the reasons why many Christians chose not to celebrate it, and is packed with ideas and inspiration for running parties

for children themed around light, laughter, and the triumph of good over evil. Better than Halloween, priced £9.99 [ISBN 0-7151-4101-5], is available from Christian bookshops. A sample chapter is available on the Church House Publishing website, at: http://www.chpublishing.co.uk/uploads/documents/0715141015.pdf

Review copies are available by contacting Ben Wilson at the Church of England Communications Office, telephone 020 7898 1236.