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Ripon Cathedral marks Palm Sunday with traditional blessing and donkey-led procession

Ripon Cathedral held its traditional blessing and procession to mark Palm Sunday. Pictures: Simon Hulme
Ripon Cathedral held its traditional blessing and procession to mark Palm Sunday. Pictures: Simon Hulme

Worshippers gathered in Ripon’s market square yesterday for the traditional blessing of the palms which marks the beginning of Holy Week.

The Bishop of Ripon, Dr Helen-Ann Hartley, gave the blessing before the congregation, choir and clergy processed to Ripon Cathedral for a Palm Sunday service.

A number of young children and choristers took part in the traditional blessing and procession.

A number of young children and choristers took part in the traditional blessing and procession.

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The Dean of Ripon, John Dobson, said: “It’s been a wonderful morning. The sunshine certainly had people in a positive spirit.

“This is the start of Holy Week so members of the churches are joining together and entering into the drama that we’re relieving this week – the final days of Jesus’ life.

“We had people from the Cathedral community, but also different denominations there.”

Crowds gather in Ripon's market square for the blessing of the palms.

Crowds gather in Ripon's market square for the blessing of the palms.

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The procession, which recreates Jesus’ arrival into Jerusalem, was led again this year by Lilly the donkey and her handler, Lilly-May Horn.

A programme of Holy Week services is planned, including a free performance of Bach’s St John Passion by Yorkshire Voices with Chorality Chamber Orchestra on Good Friday.

Mr Dobson said: “Each part of the drama has its own mood and message that is still relevant.”

The procession makes its way from the market square to the cathedral.

The procession makes its way from the market square to the cathedral.

Visit the cathedral's website for full details of its Holy Week services and events.

Members of the choir process into the cathedral.

Members of the choir process into the cathedral.

Lilly the donkey and handler Lilly-May Horn took part in the procession again this year.

Lilly the donkey and handler Lilly-May Horn took part in the procession again this year.

Lilly the donkey and handler, Lilly-May Horn, in the cathdral as the Palm Sunday service takes place.

Lilly the donkey and handler, Lilly-May Horn, in the cathdral as the Palm Sunday service takes place.