Well here we are in December with all that entails here at the Cathedral, not least the giant tree that goes in the west end. This month’s header picture shows me at the triforium and other members of my team preparing the base and getting ready to take the strain on the other ropes to hoist it into place. There was a real feeling of camaraderie throughout the whole proceedings and this year we were filmed by the BBC where my carpenter, Richard, took centre stage and did a cracking job of being interviewed and being instrumental throughout. The finished film is here.
Hewlett Turf came in to do the final making good around the new Walking Madonna base and did an absolutely splendid job of it. Our Bishop introduced Karen Gorham, the new Bishop of Sherbourne, to the Diocese at the statue, as the press release so perfectly put it “The introduction was carried out at Walking Madonna, Elizabeth Frink's 1981 statue of a woman going out from the Cathedral into the world: an apposite model for the Diocese's first woman bishop.”
Consultation on the Cathedral’s Masterplan closes on the 31 December, I do hope you take the opportunity to read what is planned and have your say before then. A few of our statutory consultation bodies sent joint comments and the latest group I showed around for the Works Department’s section of it was from CFCE (The Cathedrals’ Fabric Commission for England) and we were very grateful to them and everyone that has contributed for their time. An interim report told us that redevelopment of our existing facilities has been met with enthusiasm, which is very gratifying and we’re excited about the future.
Another group I showed around our Chapter House was from Europa Nostra, We are being considered for a prize for our work on the building in their Conservation category that recognises “Outstanding achievements in the conservation, enhancement and adaptation to new uses of cultural heritage” as we had carried out work on the outside of the building previously and then undertook more internally for our refreshed Magna Carta display in honour of its 800th anniversary this year. Nominations go forward to a jury of independent experts and prize giving is held in a different European city each year, so you never know, we might have to go travelling at some point, but even if not, just to be considered is an amazing honour.
My technician, Phil will have removed the green gels from our tower and spire lights by the time you read this and we’re back to soaring, regal “normal”, (not a word we use here much!) after having turned green in support of the Church of England’s Climate Change Campaign.
So that is and was December, I’ve published a little earlier than usual in the month as, after our “do” at the New Inn we will be closing for Christmas for a week and a bit, time to recharge, reflect and then gear up again for our return to behind the big wooden gates. Thank you to everyone who reads my blog, whether as a one-off or if you tune in regularly, and thank you to my team for all their efforts over the past year – here’s to 2016, I hope it’s a good one for all of you.