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International Peace Light 2007

Peace Child 2007On Monday 26th November 2007, a young girl from Austria - 10-year old Elisabeth Nemec – went down into the Holy Crypt beneath the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, which, according to tradition, marks the spot where Christ was born. In that grotto, a flame is kept burning – a flame symbolising Christ as the Light of the World. When Elisabeth emerged, she was carrying a lamp lit from the eternal flame and had become this year’s "Peace Child".

From Bethlehem, Elisabeth and her family took the Peace Light back to Austria, where it was presented at a Service of Dedication in Vienna, attended by representatives of the Scout and Guide Associations of Europe. These couriers then transported the flame by road, rail and air with a message of Peace for use at Christmas services throughout the Continent.

Pope Benedict is presented with the Peace Light in 2006In 1986, the Austrian Broadcasting Company initiated the distribution of this Peace Light as part of a large charitable relief mission - Light into Darkness - for children in need in Austria and abroad. Spreading across Europe, the Peace Light has previously been presented to Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, Michail Gorbatschow, former King Hussain of Jordan, EU President Romano Prodi and other members of the European parliament in Strazbourg, the UN Troops in Kosovo and has gone to Ground Zero, New York. It first came to Britain in 1997, and the UK Scout Movement has been distributing it across the country every year since then.

The light is collected from Leicester stationThis year, the Light arrived by train at Leicester Station on Monday lunchtime, and was collected by a couple of Explorer Scouts from Magellan ESU. So far the light has travelled on to be presented at services in Beeston, Sawley and Mansfield and probably several other places.

We don’t know how many links there have been in the chain between Elisabeth and us, how many people have carried the light, how many people have received it, or how many people have been at reception services, but we do know that the message of hope and peace lives on.

The South West Notts Explorer Scouts wish you a Merry Christmas, and a Happy and Peaceful New Year.

Read the full history of the Peace Light and see more photos on the official website