More than 200 Friends descended on the Precincts to celebrate Friends’ Day on 16 July. This was our 89th festival day and we were delighted that Friends had joined us from far and near.
Friends took part in a variety of activities from climbing the 300 steps of the Bell Harry Tower, exploring the roof of the Christ Church Gate, discovering more about the Cathedral’s royal visitors over the centuries, and, by kind invitation of the Dean, the Very Revd Dr Robert Willis, visiting the Deanery to learn more about its history and see the unique collection of portraits of post-Reformation Deans.
Other Friends found out more about the history of virgers , saw medieval documents in the Archive, and marvelled at the Shakespeare Second Folio in the Library and the gardens of the Precincts were also open for the Friends.
After an exhausting morning around the Precincts, we were pleased to settle in the Quire to hear the Girls’ Choir perform a recital of music through the centuries. A delicious lunch followed in the Clagett Auditorium and Friends assembled for the annual meeting. Many then enjoyed Evensong before tea in the Deanery Garden where the Salvation Army band played. Photograph above courtesy of Chris Payne.
During the day special presentations were made to the Receiver General, Brigadier John Meardon, who is retiring. He was thanked for his commitment to The Friends during his 18 years at the Cathedral. He has attended 72 Friends’ Council meetings and escorted more than 500 Friends to the top of the Bell Harry Tower on Friends’ Days – that’s about 300,000 steps up and down the Tower! Brigadier Meardon and Mrs Ann Meardon were made Honorary Life Friends in recognition of their support.
Thanks were also given to two members of the Friends’ Council who will be stepping down from their duties – Kate and Nick Lewis are moving to Orkney in the autumn. Nick has been the Treasurer to The Friends for many years and involved with Council for about 20 years. Kate has been a Trustee for nearly eight years and for the last four has served on the Management Committee. As a token of the appreciation of all Friends for their hard work, the couple were presented with a print of the Cathedral.
A special thank you is due to all our colleagues who helped offer such a varied programme for Friends’ Day. Thank you to all Friends for coming along to share our day with us. We look forward to seeing you again next year on 8 July!
Caroline Plaisted, Friends Secretary and Administrator