A football club invited Hindu youngsters to celebrate Diwali ahead of one of their EFL (English Football League) games.

Members of the  BAPS Swaminarayan Hindu Temple were invited to Preston North End during the game against Middlesbrough FC this weekend.

Children from the temple took part in a penalty shootout on the pitch at half time, and paraded the message ‘In the joy of others lies our own’, in honour of former spiritual leader of BAPS, His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj.

Community Engagement Officer at Preston North End, Mohammed Patel said: "It was our absolute pleasure to invite the group. It’s been a lovely week coming to the temple and then seeing the group take penalties."

Lancashire Telegraph:

Ahead of Diwali, Councillor Neil Darby, Mayor of Preston, the Director of Public Health for Lancashire, Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, the Chief Executive of Preston City Council, Mr Adrian Phillips, representatives from Preston North End football club, joined hundreds from the local community, to celebrate Diwali and the Hindu New Year at the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir.

Lancashire Telegraph:

The BAPS Mandir has been celebrating the centennial birth anniversary of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the creator of the world famous Neasden Temple in London.

His message, “In the joy of others lies our own”, has inspired the ‘Community Food Drive’ in which Hindu temples around the country donate food items to local foodbanks and shelters.

The event brought together friends and families of all faiths and backgrounds to enjoy the colours, sounds and flavours of Diwali.

As part of the festivities, visitors were able to view the ‘annakut’ – hundreds of food dishes prepared, artistically arranged and devoutly offered to the deities by worshippers in thanksgiving as the first meal of the New Year.

The sanctified food was later distributed among devotees, volunteers and visitors.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Mayor of Preston, Neil Darby, said: “Happy Diwali to everyone celebrating - and a happy new year! It was a real pleasure to attend the celebrations in Preston at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir. A wonderful celebration of the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil and wisdom over ignorance”.