Royal visit as Norwich Cathedral appeal tops £1.7m
Norwich’s Anglican Cathedral had a royal visitor last night to celebrate a major landmark in its £2.5m They Shall Laugh and Sing Music Appeal.
His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex is the patron of the Cathedral’s appeal and last night (May 9) paid a special visit to hear about the progress of the campaign which The Dean of Norwich revealed has now raised more than £1.7m.
The appeal aims to fund a major restoration of the Cathedral’s organ and provide more funding for the boy and girl choristers, and both aspects of the Cathedral’s musical life were placed centre stage during The Earl of Wessex’s visit.
Prince Edward joined the congregation for Evensong before meeting choristers and attending a reception in the Nave where the boys, girls and men of the Cathedral Choir treated supporters of the campaign to a performance of the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah.
At the reception, The Dean of Norwich, The Very Rev Jane Hedges, thanked Prince Edward for his support and encouragement and she paid tribute to everyone who has contributed to the appeal so far.
“Music plays a central part in the life, ministry and mission of the Cathedral and so often as people leave a service it is the music that they comment on most, because as well as giving glory to God, it lifts people’s spirits and touches people at so many levels,” the Dean said.
“Like all things that are worthwhile, producing music to such a high standard is expensive and so 18 months ago we launched our appeal outlining the challenges which lay ahead of us.”
She said the biggest challenge was to fund a £1.8m rebuilding of the organ which hasn’t had a major restoration for more than 75 years and that the second part of the appeal aimed to raise £700,000 to enable the Cathedral to maintain the tradition of educating boy choristers and also offer extra music lessons for girl choristers.
The Dean added: “At the time of the launch I said that raising £2.5m felt like a huge mountain to climb, but that if we worked together we could do this. I’m delighted to say that we are making really good and steady progress and to date have raised £1,708,929 and 28p!
We still have a way to go, but we are further up the mountain than we expected to be at this stage and we have every confidence that we will reach the target for putting down the deposit for the organ by the autumn of this year. So once again, a huge thank you to all of you – both to the trusts, the Friends and to individual donors for your generosity.”
Following the Nave reception, Prince Edward was the guest of honour at a special fundraising dinner for the They Shall Laugh and Sing Music Appeal in the Cathedral’s Hostry.
For more information about how you can contribute to the appeal, visit www.cathedral.org.uk/music-appeal
Pictured above is Prince Edward meeting the cathedral choir and touring the cloisters. Pictures by Nick Butcher, courtesy of Norwich Cathedral.