Rt Rev Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences & the Academy of Social Sciences at the Vatican spoke eloquently of the importance of the service to those most in need.  Describing drug misuse as ‘an addiction that destroys self-awareness and free will’ he said, ‘victims must not lose hope that they are capable of happiness and recovery. Emancipation and freedom from chemical slavery is best assisted by the contribution of those who have experienced addiction – they are the key to liberation.’

After a lunch served in the crypt of Blackburn Cathedral James Richardson, a current member of the THOMAS team shared his own moving story of alcohol dependency and addiction brought on by anxiety and stress that led to years of homelessness until he found THOMAS where today he is a team leader.

Finally, an award ceremony, attended by the Mayor of Blackburn recognised the many graduates from the THOMAS academy of life. Attending the Awards Ceremony were many young men and women who had much to be thankful for the work of Fr Jim and THOMAS. They showed their appreciation as they gratefully received their awards.