PUPILS in East Lancashire are getting to grips with geography in an innovative way on the back of the Olympic games.

Roman Catholic primary and secondary schools are learning about the world in an Olympic torch-style Relay of Prayer.

All schools involved have been twinned with a country taking part in the forthcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games in London next year.

During the relay each school holds a short presentation about the country it is representing and holds a short prayer for them.

Salford Diosece kicked off the 449-mile relay across all of its 210 schools, at Thorneyholme Primary School in Dunsop Bridge.

Twenty seven students from the school took the first leg of the 449-mile journey to the next school in Chipping.

Students research their allocated country, travel by whatever mode of transport they fancy and deliver an assembly to the next school along the chain.

Pupils at Our Lady and St John Catholic Arts College, Blackburn, carried out research and gave a short speech about Bhutan. Children at St Joseph’s RC Primary School, Blackburn, produced a presentation about Slovakia.

Thorneyholme School were allocated North Korea The torch will be welcomed into Salford Cathedral by the Bishop of Salford on July 6.

The Bishop of Salford, the Right Reverend Terence Brain, who was guest of honour at the launch, said: “I think it's a great idea.”

The Relay of Prayer has been months in the planning with each school being randomly allocated a different participating country.

Organiser Father Paul Cannon said the relay epitomised the various schools in the diocese striving to be seen as one.

He said: "They are also involved in prayer for the different countries in the Olympics and the Paral-ympics.”

Thorneyholme School headteacher Sarah Healey said everyone relished their task of researching one of the most private countries in the world.