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Robert Swain was a regular contributor to The Messenger magazine for many years. As a tribute to Robert, and thanks for all his support, I’ve chosen the following article which first appeared in The Messenger of February 2020 – one of the last printed versions of the magazine before the ‘lockdowns’ meant having to move to an on-line version. In this article, he shows his usual attention to detail, an interest in what is happening locally – and concludes by showing how it all fits in with his great Christian faith.

David Bateman – Editor of The Messenger

A Different View

Last year I told of going to watch skaters at “Lancaster on Ice”in Dalton Square, in front of the Town Hall.  Skating came back again in November, and this time it was joined by some stalls and the “Giant Wheel” which came for part of the time.

The wheel is Europe’s largest portable ferris wheel at 35 metres in height.  It towered over Queen Victoria and the skaters down below.  As has been said in the local paper, the scene was magical.  I went to have a look and take some photographs.  At the end of wandering round by Dalton Square I was by the bottom, of the wheel and by the queue buying tickets.  I had no choice but to buy a ticket to go round on the wheel (that is what I told myself), so paid and joined the queue.  It quite steadily moved forwards. Three of the gondolas stopped in front of the queue, which was split, at once, one raised each side of the central one.  The doors on the far side were unlocked to let people off and then the doors by the waiting passengers unlocked for those at the front of the queue to get on.  It was very well marshalled. The wheel then turned smoothly for three more gondolas to stop and take on people.

As the wheel turned, we all gradually went up in the air and saw Lancaster in a different way from at ground level.  The Town Hall clock and St Peter’s Cathedral spire became opposite.  Skaters were tiny figures down below.  Traffic in Stonewell and along Great John Street was like tiny toys when at the top.  Once we had gone round picking up passengers, the wheel then did a complete circuit before it kept stopping to let people off.  It was a very smooth and enjoyable ride.

It struck me that the wheel was like an eye keeping watch over the people below, particularly when looking across to it from the Town Hall steps.  It reminded me of a picture I once saw of the Eye of God watching over his people below.  We saw everything in a very different way.  We should always remember that God watches over us all from above and not just from ground level.

Robert Swain



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