Sunderland community turns to Good Friday cross raising on Tunstall Hill

The Christian community of Sunderland gathered to uphold a city tradition as a cross was raised at a Good Friday service on Tunstall Hill.

Around 1,000 people gathered as the two sections of the structure were carried up the peak, placed together and lifted into place.

The annual Good Frtiday raising of the cross and Passion Play on Tunstall Hill. Sunderland.

The annual Good Frtiday raising of the cross and Passion Play on Tunstall Hill. Sunderland.

The ceremony, organised by the University of Sunderland Catholic Chaplaincy, began with prayers leading into a Pslam.

A Passion Play, written and performed by international students, was held before further prayers and reflection were led by Father Marc Lyden-Smith, of St Mary’s RC Church in Bridge Street.

At its close members of the clergy sent their thanks with the Lord’s Prayer and the hymn Amazing Grace was sung.

After, Fr Lyden-Smith said: “I think this is part of the make up of the city.

I think this is part of the make up of the city.

Father Marc Lyden-Smith

“It is amazing to see people come out on Good Friday to come together to remember. There are some people who don’t go to church but come to this and it is important to them, and it is wonderful to see Catholics, Protestants and people of no faith, a real cross section of Sunderland, come together.”

Among those to attend was Clare Dodd, from Grangetown, along with husband Darren, son Luke, 16, niece Stella Martin, six, and her parents John and Sheila Davison.

“I love the community spirit and it’s the fact that so many different churches come together to mark the most important weekend in the calendar.”

Families turned out to join in the service.

Families turned out to join in the service.

The cross was raised with the help of Sunderland Minster's Iranian community.

The cross was raised with the help of Sunderland Minster's Iranian community.

International students from the University of Sunderland Catholic Caplaincy wrote and performed the Passion Play.

International students from the University of Sunderland Catholic Caplaincy wrote and performed the Passion Play.

The Passion Play was introduced to the Good Friday service on Tunstall Hill during the last few years.

The Passion Play was introduced to the Good Friday service on Tunstall Hill during the last few years.

Around a thousand people joined in this year's service.

Around a thousand people joined in this year's service.