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Bible Society’s inflatable whale harpooned for being too ‘religious’

Plans for a Bible Society giant whale in central London as a visual aid for children's summer holiday events have been scuppered for being too religious ...

As part of the ‘Pass It On’ campaign – which encourages parents to read Bible stories to their children – Bible Society asked Potter’s Field Park by Tower Bridge if they could re-enact the story of Jonah and the Whale to children over the summer holidays. They planned to do this inside a giant 50 foot inflatable sperm whale, which they are hiring from a circus troupe.

The whale has already been used on the site as part of a pirate-themed attraction for children but the Chief Executive of the Potters Fields Park Management Trust, which runs the site, simply turned down the request saying: ‘I am afraid that under the terms of our lease we are not allowed to have any events of a religious nature.’

The idea came after Bible Society commissioned research which showed that 80 per cent of all parents think their children should have the opportunity to engage with Bible stories.

James Catford, Group Chief Executive of Bible Society said: ‘Our research has shown many parents want children to engage with Bible stories; the challenge is knowing where to begin. We thought that giving children the chance to sit in a large inflatable whale and have the story of Jonah told to them was a good place to start. We’re not here to tell children what to believe. We simply want to give them a really fun experience they will always remember.’

Bible Society is now looking for another location to host the whale during the summer holidays. If you can help mail media.enquiries@biblesociety.org.uk or call 01793 418222.

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