YOUNGSTERS of all faiths came together in enjoyment of one of the world’s most popular sports – cricket.
Children and teenagers from across Bolton’s broad spectrum of religions took part in an interfaith cricket tournament at Kearsley Academy.
Represented at the event on Saturday (November 22) were teams from Methodist-run Unite Youth, Bolton Interfaith Ambassadors and Bolton Council of Mosques.
Also taking up bats and balls were children from Bolton Hindu Forum in association with Bolton Indian Sports Club, Bolton Lads and Girls Club and St John Fisher Catholic church in Kearsley.
Organiser Grace Thomas said playing Street 20 cricket – a fast-paced game which lasts 20 minutes – was a great way for the 56 young people present to get to know each other better.
Mrs Thomas, the youth and children’s co-ordinator for the Farnworth and Worsley Methodist Church circuit with Unite Youth, said: “Playing Street 20 cricket meant girls and boys who loved cricket or who had never played it before could join in equally and pick it up really quickly.”
Inter Faith Week, which ran between November 16 and 22, is a national initiative aiming to build good relationships between people of different faiths and beliefs.
Mrs Thomas added: “This was about getting young people together and getting to know each other – and sport is a great way to do that.”
The winners of the tournament were the Bolton Hindu Forum in association with the Bolton Indian Sports Club, with the runners-up being St John Fisher Church.
Last year’s event was at Christ Church in Little Lever and Mrs Thomas said she hoped next year the tournament would be played at Bolton Arena.
Westhoughton Unite Youth member Rebekah Thomas, aged 12, said this year’s tournament was “bigger and better”.
She added: “It is great to meet different people and get to know them.”
Aima Sheikh, aged 13, said it was a “really good thing to get involved with”. The Great Lever teenager was representing the Bolton Council of Mosques and plays for the Lancashire County youth cricket team in Manchester.
Cousins Layla Greenhalgh, aged 12, and Alex Whitmore, aged nine, were representing St John Fisher Church in Kearsley. Both play cricket for Clifton.
Layla said: “I think it is good because you are playing against lots of different people who have different levels of skill in their teams.”
Support from the Bolton Wanderers community trust and a grant from the Kearsley area forum funded the event.