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Cross processions mark Good Friday

PUBLISHED: 19:33 10 April 2009 | UPDATED: 08:54 06 July 2010

Filing through the streets in revered silence, hundreds of worshippers today cast away fears that Easter had become a celebration of chocolate eggs and a few days off work.

Filing through the streets in revered silence, hundreds of worshippers today cast away fears that Easter had become a celebration of chocolate eggs and a few days off work.

Tourists paused and cars ground to a halt as they watched a cross bearer followed by a solemn trail - which included pensioners, children and pets - pass by in their town or village's Good Friday March of Witness.

A few moments of peace descended on the town centre of Lowestoft as 120 Christians gathered at the Salvation Army Citadel in Beach Road and processed slowly towards the United Reformed Church, stopping for prayers and readings telling the story of Christ's final moments.

Further along the coast in Sheringham, more than 200 walkers were grateful not to have to contend with the strong winds which caused havoc last year as they trekked up Beeston Bump.

Betty Porter, thought to be the oldest person taking part in the procession, made the most of the sunshine after starting out earlier than most.

She said: “I have to come more slowly than I used to - I can't run up any longer. But after I get to the top I know I can always roll down.”

In Dilham, near North Walsham, the cross procession saw a return to its hey-day following an appeal for more people to join their ever-decreasing trail of marchers.

Anne Dunne, parochial church council secretary, had expected only seven members of the ageing congregation to attend but was delighted to find a much larger following arrive at the village's Cross Keys pub.

She said: “We had 22 people, including two children in push chairs, and even a dog. We were stretched right out along the road. We were absolutely thrilled to bits.”

In Thetford, Canon Bob Baker said the turnout for the town's walk of witness, which began at the Methodist Church on Tanner Street and ended at St Cuthbert's Church, was one of the best he had seen.

And the King's Lynn Churches Together group turned heads as it walked through the busy town centre. Reverend Neil Harper said it was important to remind people Good Friday was not just another Bank Holiday.

He added: “In the middle of a busy day, a block of silence still makes people stop and take notice.”

Norwich, Cromer, Dereham and Wymondham saw good turn outs while pilgrims from across the country arrived at the sacred shrine in Walsingham.

In Bury St Edmunds the town's streets became a stage in order to mark Good Friday with a traditional Passion Play.

A number of locations hosted scenes during the performance, before ending in the Abbey Gardens where the crucifixion was staged.

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