Priest who led church service for travellers calls for calm in Kesgrave

Farm machinery in Millennium Way, Kesgrave in an attempt to stop anymore travellers parking on green

Farm machinery in Millennium Way, Kesgrave in an attempt to stop anymore travellers parking on green spaces.

The priest who led the service for two traveller families in Kesgrave today has appealed for calm amid ongoing community tensions.

Farm machinery in Millennium Way, Kesgrave in an attempt to stop anymore travellers parking on green

Farm machinery in Millennium Way, Kesgrave in an attempt to stop anymore travellers parking on green spaces.

Father John Warrington led the service for five traveller children receiving their first Holy Communion at the Church of the Holy Family and St Michael’s Roman Catholic Church in Kesgrave this morning.

It comes after people living in the Grange Farm area of Kesgrave used cars to blockade any open pieces of land amid unconfirmed rumours up to 100 travellers are heading towards the area.

Fr Warrington said: “There is a strong community in Kesgrave and it is important that it stays strong, but it is very important we show respect to everyone.

“We have to show respect to everyone in the community and everyone who comes in to the community.

The travellers in Grange Farm, Kesgrave

The travellers in Grange Farm, Kesgrave - Credit: Archant

“With any group of people, none of us are here to judge. It is very important that we have our own opinions, but it is very important that we respect one another, and that people get on with their lives.”

Explaining the service this morning, he said: “They came to our regular 10am mass. They had already met one of my other colleagues earlier in the week and spoke to them about coming, so we had prepared for that celebration.

“The two families came and there was probably at about 15 or 20 people extra in church along with our normal congregation. It was a normal celebration for them. They are Catholic and it is part of their faith and it is very important they do that.

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“Obviously because they are moving around, they have to access the church when and where they can.

“Wherever that rumour came from, about the extra number of people coming for that particular celebration, was unfounded.

“People want to make sure things are safe and that is very important, and I fully appreciate their concerns. From the church’s point of view, we are there for everyone and for anyone that comes along. The travelling community has arrived and they are Catholics and they wanted to make use of our services as it were.”

Fr Warrington added: “I would hope that whatever happens in any community, you hope more people come together more and understand each other better and are able to understand the different reactions. That is very important – everybody has their own view on things.

“But at the same time, it has brought people together I guess.”