Priest leads prayers against closure

2nd February 2001 at 00:00
HAVING souls is demanding enough for most vicars. But Father Kesh Govan has taken upon himself the additional role of saving schools.

After successfully campaigning to prevent the closure of Oldhams county primary in Bolton last year, the 34-year-old priest is now leading a last-ditch fight to rescue a threatened community school in a deprived area of Manchester.

Furious at Salford Council's plans to shut Little Hulton school, which has just undergone pound;4 million worth of improvements, he has tirelessly rounded up more than 400 locals to join him in his crusade.

They are petitioning the rest of the community and staging a peaceful march against proposals to merge the 500-pupil secondary with nearby Joseh Eastham high after inspectors told the local authority to reduce surplus places from 18 per cent to 8.

The Rev Govan said: "As a vicar, everyone in Little Hulton is my responsibility , including children.

"We are in one of the most deprived parts of the country with few amenities for young people and so the school really is the heart of the area. We will therefore fight to the end until its future is safe."

Lynda Cairns, the school's chair of governors, said: " Father Kesh has already helped to save one school and we are praying he can do it again."

A council spokeswoman confirmed that closure notices had been issued and that a decision would be made in April following consultations.

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