Town’s solidarity with victims of tragedies

Rector of Bridlington Priory Rev Matthew Pollard said it was important that the historic church stood in solidarity with victims
Rector of Bridlington Priory Rev Matthew Pollard said it was important that the historic church stood in solidarity with victims

A special vigil was held at Bridlington Priory as residents stood in solidarity with those who lost their lives in tragic killings this month.

More than 100 people took part in the touching event, that commemorated the lives of those killed in the Orlando shooting two weeks ago, as well as Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox, who was killed last week.

In memory of the popular Member of Parliament and of the dozens who lost their lives in the Orlando nightclub, residents lit candles at the Priory.

Rector of Bridlington Priory, Rev Matthew Pollard, said it was important that Bridlington stood in solidarity with victims of oppression and prejudice.

“We were aware that there was a great outpouring of grief and that people needed to be able express that grief, whether they were people of faith or not,”said Rev Pollard.

“They needed to find some space to be quiet and reflect on those events and, if they wish, to pray and have an opportunity to light a candle in memory of those who have been killed.

“We had a vigil all day Saturday and Sunday in the Chapel at Bridlington Priory and we had a rainbow flag to show solidarity with the LGBT community.”

While the Orlando shooting, in which 49 people were killed and 53 others injured, did not take place close to home, Rev Pollard said it was important that the Priory stands united with Bridlington’s own LGBT community.

“More than 100 people came to that event,” he added.

“Orlando is not local but there is a significant LGBT community in Bridlington, whose vulnerability has been exposed by this event and the Priory wants to stand in solidarity with that community.”

And while West Yorkshire and the rest of Britain comes to terms with the loss of MP Jo Cox, Rev Pollard said many in Bridlington had been personally affected by the tragedy, and the vigil gave them an opportunity to grieve.

He added: “There are many people living in Bridlington who have come from the Spen Valley.

“It’s remarkable how many people who had personal connections - recognising neighbours being interviewed about Jo Cox on television.

“People have been personally affected - there are connections with the area she has grown up in and served in.

“It’s part of the Priory’s understanding of what we are there for - to be a resource for the community - that they have an opportunity to connect with these occasions, so people can gather in sadness and in joy.”

“We stand in solidarity with all who face oppression and prejudice.

“There is obviously a need to be met, and the Priory was pleased to be able to meet that and give people that opportunity.”

A fund in memory of Jo Cox set up by her family and friends has already raised 
£1 million, and the money will be used to support causes that were backed by the MP.