The soon to be 105th Archbishop of Canterbury returned to the first school he visited after being announced as the Bishop of Durham when he presented certificates and trophies at a prize-giving ceremony.
The Right Revd Justin Welby, Bishop of Durham and Archbishop-Designate, visited St Aidan’s Church of England Academy, in Darlington, County Durham.
It was the school where he met staff and students on the day he was announced as Bishop of Durham last year.
During his speech at this year’s Celebration of Achievement evening, he stressed the importance of education, recounting a story that happened when he was doing mediation work in a part of Kenya that had been hit by rebellion.
He visited a refugee camp where families had fled the violence and found a makeshift school operating in a clearing, using books salvaged from the troubles.
He said: “Those students believed that if they did things properly they would go on to achieve.“
Bishop Justin said that he had kept in touch with one of those Kenyan students, who had gone on to achieve academic success.
Addressing the families in the sports hall at St Aidan’s, Bishop Justin said: “Whether it be at at home or abroad, there is nothing that people cannot achieve if they want to do it.
“The great thing about this school is that it gives students an opportunity to study to
achieve high standards if they want to do so.
“There is an amazing sense of achievement here. When people tell you there is gloom and doom - and there is a lot of gloom around - my message is that through faithfulness and service to God we can do anything.
“I am full of hope for what places like this can achieve for Darlington and for the North East of England.”