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On Sunday 7th July we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Lancaster Diocese Youth Service moving to Castlerigg Manor. For this special occasion we were looking forward to gathering with the Castlerigg family - all the people who have taken part in retreats at Castlerigg and those who support us in our work with young people.

Fortunately we were blessed with fantastic sunny weather and we could set up outside: drinks, merchandise, and homemade fudge, and, most importantly, the bouncy castle. By 4pm we were ready to welcome our guests: people of different ages, who joined us on retreats, members of staff with friends and families, Bishop Paul and our management group, as well as past and present volunteers. As a special guest we were happy to meet Mr George Page, who grew up here as a small boy when his parents ran Castlerigg Manor as a hotel.

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After Father John has given an opening speech, Bishop Paul welcomed everyone and blessed a plaque in remembrance of Monsignor Paddy O’Dea who was the founder of the Youth Service at Castlerigg Manor. This plaque is going to be placed in our chapel. Throughout the evening we enjoyed the Summer BBQ buffet and a selection of cakes that our wonderful chefs Collin and Martyn had prepared. Rachael and Ruben spent their time face painting for children young and old and, accompanied by good music, people shared the various memories they have from their Castlerigg experiences. It was lovely to see how many people have been involved in and affected by the work of the Youth Service since 1969 (and before) and are so happy to come back to this special place.

At the end of the day, Father John announced the winners of our raffle prizes, which had been donated by different shops in Keswick. We would like to thank them and all our donors for their support. We took £587 on the day. All in all, we say ‘thank you’ to the more than one hundred people who came to share in our celebration and made it an unforgettable anniversary!

Vanessa Landwehr