PUPILS played host to a rather special lunchtime guest.

For youngsters at Longfield Academy, Darlington, spent their lunch hour with the Right Reverend Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham.

He was the special guest at the Inspire lunchtime club, run by the school’s RE department in conjunction with the Darlington Area Churches Youth Ministry (DACYM).

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He spent more than an hour fielding questions from curious pupils on a wide range of topics, from his role with the Church of England to his opinions on religious extremism and social networking.

Martin Stand, project director with DACYM, said: “We were so grateful to Bishop Paul for giving up some of his valuable time to come and meet the students we work with each week at Longfield Academy.

“It is not every day young people are given the opportunity to ask any questions they like to a senior member of the Church of England.

“He has made children and young people one of the priorities of his role and it is fantastic he came and spent some face to face time with this group of pupils.”

Lyn Greenhow, head of RE at the school, added: “The visit was, for the RE department, a key event for this academic year.

“It was a wonderful opportunity for our pupils to meet, question and get to know a bit about a Bishop in the Church of England.”

The Inspire lunchtime group, now in its third academic year, allows students to discuss issues that have so far included Fairtrade, globalisation, slavery and racism.