Welcome to this rather late edition of the Friends’ newsletter.
Welcome to this rather late edition of the Friends’ newsletter. The impact of the pandemic has continued to have a serious effect on life in general and upon our association’s activities. However, there is more optimism around and a considerable determination for life to return to at least some semblance of normality. With this in mind, we are planning on resuming in part our usual programme of events. The first of these is of course our annual Carols by Candlelight concert-see below for further details. There have been two Friends’ council meetings during this year, the first early in June, before our Annual General meeting, and then more recently at the end of September. We had hoped that restrictions might have been lifted in time for the AGM at the beginning of last July, but sadly it had to take place under strict Covid protocols with a maximum of only forty attendees. However, the usual business was
conducted and minutes of the meeting can be emailed to any member who wishes to read them. We were most grateful for members’ understanding in deciding to stay away and also to some local members who gave up their seats to those who had travelled some distance. The newly refurbished large upstairs room in the Old Deanery Visitors’ Centre is an ideal venue and we look forward to using it again next year. In the heat of the moment I neglected to take the customary AGM picture but at the beginning of September we were able to welcome a party of Friends from St Edmundsbury Cathedral in the same room and enjoy refreshments arranged by the new cathedral centre café. We had intended to send Diane, our Treasurer and Brendan, our Administrator to the National Conference of Friends of Cathedrals, Minsters and Major Churches which was to have taken place in Ripon during October, but this has been postponed until next year-again as a result of the pandemic. Another casualty has been our Feast for St Hugh’s day. Hopefully this will go ahead next year, along with our teatime talks and an annual visit. Our level of membership has remained stable and there have been a number of donations and bequests, for which we are most grateful. We have again been pleased to award a number of grants. Although the usual funding towards the Friends’ Choral Scholar was not needed last year, since there was no appointment, we will be pleased to support a young singer once more during this year. A number of other donations were made in support of the choir, and to offset some of the Cathedral’s Covid expenses. The Friends will be providing funds for new cassocks and surplices which are at present being made for the children in the Cathedral choir. Along with a National Lottery grant, we have provided funds towards the installation of live streaming for services and events in the Nave. Later in this newsletter you will see a notice for an Extraordinary General Meeting of the
Association, in order to consider two funding proposals. A minimum of fifty members is required to make such a meeting quorate, and we are hoping to convene a hybrid meeting, with on line attendance as well as in person in the Cathedral Centre.
The Friends’ 2021 Christmas card
This year’s image is taken from a stained glass window in the North Nave aisle, photographed by Verger Jim Newton. The message on the inside of the card reads: ‘Best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.’ An order form is enclosed with this newsletter, and cards can also be obtained from the Friends’ office on a Wednesday morning, or from the Cathedral shop. We are also intending to run a stall in the Cathedral during this year’s Christmas Market, where Friends’ merchandise, including this year’s card, will be on sale. Bargains on past years’ Christmas cards will be on offer as well!