In what appears to be a world first, a British betting company has sponsored a confession box in a Catholic church in England.
The company, Paddy Power, teamed up with top jockey Frankie Dettori, to unveil the innovative sponsorship in Our Lady with St. Etheldreda Church in Newmarket, ahead of this weekend’s Guineas Festival.
Newmarket, in Suffolk, is around 40 miles north of London, in the “galloping heart of British horse racing”.
The sponsorship, valued at Pounds 10,000, was conveived by Paddy Power and Newmarket Parish Priest Father Michael Griffin. The money will help finance work in the church, which had been planned for a number of years. Financing the work had proven to be a major a hurdle.
Paddy Power said besides being a great fit for the company to sponsor a confession box in the church, “We hope that over time confessing your sins in the Paddy Power confession box will become a tradition for Newmarket race goers!”
Fr Michael Griffin said “Our church has felt for a long time that we should have closer ties with the horse racing industry in Newmarket. Through the generosity of Paddy Power this is now starting to happen”