About 150 children enjoyed drumming, stunts and circus tricks and learned about science and crafts

Children on the Melbourne estates in Chelmsford, Essex, enjoyed a Fun Week organised by the Canonesses of the Holy Sepulchre this month.

About 150 children enjoyed drumming, stunts and circus tricks and learned about science and crafts.

The Canonesses were helped by 24 young volunteers, known as “Yellowshirts” due to their customised T-shirts. They acted as role models for the younger children. It is the eighth year the Fun Week has been running.

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Sister Moira said the young people on the estate would otherwise have no hope of a holiday or even of days out.

She said: “A week of activities fills a need. The activities chosen are ones which can also be done at home as fun and learning activities.”

The Canonesses used to run New Hall, a private girls school in Chelmsford founded in 1642 and located in the former Tudor palace of Beaulieu. They handed over the running of the school almost 10 years ago and moved to disadvantaged areas in Essex and east London.
At their worldwide general chapter, held last month, they promised to try to “live simply and in solidarity with the poor”.

Sister Moira said: “The final question posed [at the general chapter] was ‘with whom have you linked your destiny?’

“The spirituality of our order impels us to answer this question from the perspective of the empty tomb: finding life when all seems dead, being bearers of hope and life in the darkest of places. In practical terms this means living, working and praying with people in their everyday lives and meeting whatever needs come our way.”

There are 17 Canonesses in Britain and over 400 worldwide.

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