THREE bishops attended the blessing of Whitchurch Bridge after it re-opened.
The ceremony was performed by the Rt Rev John Pritchard, the Bishop of Oxford, as he passed through the village on a pilgrimage. He was joined by the Rt Rev Colin Fletcher, the Bishop of Dorchester, and the Rt Rev Andrew Proud, the Bishop of Reading, as well as children from Whitchurch and Pangbourne primary schools.
Bishop John, who retires at the end of the month, was walking 100 miles along the Thames Path in 10 days to say farewell to his diocese after seven years.
His office had invited the parish church in Pangbourne to provide lunch for the bishop and a number of pilgrims accompanying him. Rev Heather Parbury, the rector, contacted Whitchurch priest Rev Claire Alcock proposing that they asked the Bishop to conduct a joint blessing for both villages.
Bishop John gave a short address explaining how Christianity builds bridges between people then led prayers. The children, each with a length of ribbon, then led his party to the Dolphin Centre in Pangbourne, where they stayed for an hour before resuming the walk.