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'Pope double' Jim Bowen to 'bless' the East Lancashire derby
COMEDIAN Jim Bowen will say a prayer for both teams before Sunday’s East Lancashire derby after being dubbed a look-alike for the new Pope.
Just minutes after Pope Francis I was appointed on Wednesday evening, pictures comparing the pontiff to the former Bullseye host appeared on the internet and social networking sites.
Rovers fan Jim, who at 76 is the same age as Pope Francis, said he could see the resemblance.
The former Accrington Grammar School pupil, who was brought up in Padiham, joked: “I will be taking mass at 12.30pm on Sunday and I will bless both sides.
“I am quite flattered by the comparison, but I am already as close to heaven as I will get.
“My daughter rang me and she told me to look on the internet and to see what I thought. There were hundreds of people saying I looked like the Pope and I agree I do look like him. I could be his body double.”
Jim remained objective about his predictions for Sunday’s game at Ewood Park.
He said: “I have to be impartial now I am Pope.
“I hope it will be a draw and that nobody gets hurt.”
Other famous names from East Lancashire have been offering their thoughts about the clash.
Fashion designer and Rovers fan Wayne Hemingway said: “As a Rovers fan at the moment I don’t expect us to beat anyone, not even Burnley. I think a lot don’t really care so much at the moment.
“I feel pretty disillusioned and it wouldn’t ruin my weekend if we did lose.
“It is hard to see Rovers winning so I think it will be a draw or Burnley will win by the odd goal.
“If I was pushed for a prediction I would say it will be 1-1.”
And the next Bishop of Blackburn, the Venerable Julian Henderson, said: “I shall look out for the result of course, but unfortunately I will not be able to attend. As I said at the time of my announcement as the next Bishop I have every intention of paying a visit to football grounds around Lancashire when I am formally in post.
“The only prediction I care to make is that, like all derby games, it will be an exciting day for all the fans. I hope there will be a good atmosphere and everyone, players and spectators, enjoys the match.”
Clarets fan and former press secretary to Tony Blair when he was Prime Minister, Alastair Campbell, said: “I am going to the match.
“Obviously, for both clubs things have gone a bit flat.
“Therefore, it’s going to be a bit like a cup final for both sets of fans.
“I hope it will be a good match and a great day out for both sets of fans.
“I just hope Burnley win. My prediction is one - nil to us.”