At the age of 12, I decided that abbeys and cathedrals were even more fascinating than castles. I dragged my parents to every cathedral in England – summer holidays were planned along cathedral routes. I can’t remember the first time I set foot in Worcester Cathedral, but the world- famous view from the New Road cricket ground stirs very early memories for me. It never occurred to me then that one day I would find myself dean here.
As I take my leave of Worcester, I want to tell you something about a recent initiative of mine to support the continuing maintenance of the Cathedral. For as long as I can remember, I have been enthralled by ancient buildings.
To be a dean is to be surrounded and encouraged by a large number of generous people, whose gifts help to maintain, conserve, and enhance their Cathedral. I am very proud of what we achieved over the past sixteen years, but much remains to be done. There will be major projects to do with the Old Palace, the nave organ, the Cathedral’s lighting and heating, and improved access for all. But as well as that, there is the continuing work of maintenance and repair. The recent quinquennial report tells us that the Cathedral is fundamentally sound, but repairs continue on the tower, the boundary walls, and the west wall of the cloisters, together with better drainage and enhanced fire
prevention measures. In a typical year, we spend £500k on the repair and maintenance of the building, and the team of stonemasons who are essential for this work.
In recent weeks I have been writing to a number of people, inside and outside the Cathedral community, to join me in raising £50k in support of the fabric. That is a small part of what we need, but I am delighted that from a small group of people we have already raised £27,185. Will you join them, and me, in completing this sum? I have pledged the royalties of my recently-published book. You can find a donation form below, and I thank you in advance for anything you can give.
Lynne and I will soon be moving to Yorkshire. From a discreet distance, we will follow the news of Worcester Cathedral with affection, interest, and gratitude. With your continuing help, I have no doubt that the news will be good.
With all good wishes,
The Very Reverend Peter Atkinson