THE Church Of England’s second most senior cleric has given his blessing to a new garden at Hartford High School.

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, visited the Church of England school to officially open the Garden of Reflection.

Dr Sentamu is a high-ranking cleric in the church, and is second only to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

He is also the officiator of the Archbishop of York Youth Trust Award, which encourages young people to engage with their community.

Year eight pupils from the school have just completed their third project to achieve the award.

The garden has been designed and developed by pupils, who will also maintain it. Pupils asked for the garden to provide an area of quiet contemplation and reflection during the school day.

A cherry blossom memorial tree is the focal point of the garden, which has four raised beds to represent the four pastoral houses and a living willow archway.

Dr Sentamu walked through the archway to cut a ribbon to officially open the garden before offering his blessing.

“We are honoured to host this visit from the Archbishop,” said head teacher Mike Holland.

“We took the rare step less than two years ago of becoming a Church of England high school, and have made a great deal of progress in developing the less tangible aspects of school life such as Christian ethos and spirituality.”

Assistant head teacher Tim Lee is the co-ordinator of the school’s involvement in the Archbishop of York Award, and described Dr Sentamu’s visit as “a truly amazing day.”

“I feel extremely privileged to have had such a high profile leader of the Church of England visit our school,” he said.

“Our pupils are aware of the role they have to play to be positive citizens and actively seek to complete projects that will support our school, Northwich and wider communities.

“Pupils and staff alike were touched to have this acknowledged by the Archbishop.”

During his visit Dr Sentamu spoke at an assembly of 270 young people, visited classrooms across the campus and spent an hour with The Christian Union.