Newcomers to faith brave cold waters for river baptisms

Bishop James Bell followed in the footsteps of St Paulinus by wading into the cold waters of the River Swale to perform baptisms on Sunday.

Eleven members of local churches were baptised in the chilly waters of the North Yorkshire river once known as the Holy River of St Paulinus.

The baptisms were performed close to the spot where, the Venerable Bede recorded that St Paulinus had carried out mass baptisms in the 7th century.

Two local vicars, Yvonne Callaghan and Lindsay Southern, donned wetsuits to join Bishop Bell in the cold waters.

The historic open air baptism service began with the Blessing of the River by Bishop Bell and was joined by more than a hundred supporters, family and friends.

Younger or more timid candidates were sprinkled with water, while others opted for full immersion.