The International Peace Light has returned to the Isle of Man this festive season with support from the Steam Packet Company.
Last year the ferry company made special arrangements for the lit flame to be transported from England for a Service of Distribution at St Matthew’s Church in Douglas. It was the first time the Light had travelled to the Island.
The Light arrived on Wednesday (16th December) as part of this year’s Christmas celebrations, and the Steam Packet Company once again assisted with transport.
Every year since 1986, a child from Austria has travelled to Bethlehem and kindled a light from the Eternal Flame inside the Church of the Nativity. The Light is then flown to Austria where it is distributed to international delegations at a Service of Dedication and Distribution.
Thanks to co-operation between the Scouts and Guides in many countries, the Light has travelled throughout Europe, America, Canada and Australasia. When the Light reaches each country, Scouts and Guides take it into the community, distributing it further to churches, old people's homes, residential homes, hospitals, prisons and other places of public, political or cultural importance.
Last year, during the service at St Matthew’s, local Scouts and Guides lit their own flames from the Light and distributed them around the Island.
This year the Steam Packet Company assisted a group of 10 to travel to a Service of Distribution in St Helens and kindle their own light for the Isle of Man before transporting the lit flame back to Douglas. The group included five members of the Island's Scouts and Guides representing each of the older sections (Scouts, Sea Scouts, Explorers, Guides and Senior Section).
There will be a local Service of Distribution at St Mary of the Isle Catholic Church, Hill Street, Douglas, on Saturday, 19th December, at 2.00pm.
Father Robert Boyle, of St Matthew’s Church, said: ‘We were very grateful to the Steam Packet Company for helping to bring the Bethlehem Peace Light to the Isle of Man for the first time last year. It meant a huge amount to the local Scout and Guide associations and the communities who received a flame from the Light.
‘We are delighted the Steam Packet Company once again kindly agreed to help, ensuring the symbol of peace can be shared around the Island.’
Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward added: ‘Although transporting a lit flame presented some logistical issues for us, we were pleased to be able to assist with transporting the International Peace Light last year.
‘It was a pleasure to once again assist Father Boyle and the local Scout and Guide associations bring this longstanding symbol of a message of peace to the Isle of Man.’
Members of the group which travelled to St Helens to collect the International Peace Light arrive in Douglas.