A message from the Chairman of
The Friends of Coventry Cathedral
Christmas Services 2021
19th December 6.30pm - Carols by Candelight 21st December 6.30pm - A Service for the Longest Night 24th December 7pm - Form of a Servant 25th December 10am - Christmas Eucharist
The Christmas morning service will be broadcast by BBC TV. A limited number of tickets are available upon application to the Cathedral.
A Christmas bargain for
HALF PRICE TICKETS to Handel’s MESSIAH are offered to every member of the Friends. MESSIAH is performed in Coventry Cathedral on Monday 20th December 2021 at 7pm. Coventry Cathedral Chorus will be joined by Orchestra Pro Anima with the soloists Philippa Hyde, Simon Ponsford, Greg Tassell,and James Cleverton. “This performance will be especially meaningful to me personally, as it is my last concert as Musical Director of the Chorus after 37 glorious years on the podium.” PAUL LEDDINGTON WRIGHT
As a Christmas bargain tickets normally costing £22 and £15 are available HALF PRICE to members of the Friends of Coventry Cathedral.
To take advantage of this offer members should apply for tickets to Jill Pacey, either by email (
) or by telephoning her on .
THE WORK OF Anne Petters as part of the Broken Angel Project was unveiled on 6th November and will remain in place until 1st February. She is the first of three artists taking part and sharing responses to the empty space left by the vandalised glass angel in the West Screen. In addition to her projected image she has created a miniature book of glass inside the Cathedral - referencing that the arms of the damaged Angel cradled the Book of Eternal Life. The other artists will share their responses over the next twelve months.
The Friends made a grant of £10,000 towards the REBUILD arts project sponsored by the City of Culture Trust with the Cathedral, and the Broken Angel Project is the first part of the sponsored art.
In January 2022 we have the opportunity to share in the second part of REBUILD which is GHOSTS IN THE RUINS, a work that has been created by NITIN SAWHNEY, the well-known composer. His work examines themes of healing, resilience, and reconciliation in relation to contemporary conflicts while looking forward in hope for the future of the world. GHOSTS IN THE RUINS will start in the Cathedral nave and will feature performances by singer YVA, violinist Eos Counsell and the Coventry Cathedral choristers and local poets. The audience will then be invited to move into the Cathedral Ruins to experience a dramatic conclusion. The Cathedral’s Director of Music, Rachel Mahon, is a Creative Associate on the project.
The choral and musical elements will be accompanied by newly-commissioned works by Coventry poets, and visual images by the artist Mark Murphy will be projected onto the interior walls of the Cathedral. TICKETS for this event are now available on the City of Culture website, or from the City of Culture shop in Hertford Place.
LAST MONTH'S MENTION in this newsletter of the King's National Days of Prayer during World War II gave rise to many comments from members, most of whom were unaware of Days of Prayer. I have been loaned the photograph on the right which shows the National Day of Prayer Service held in the Cathedral Ruins in 1943.
Double your money!
LAST MONTH'S OFFER of the Friends of Coventry Cathedral to double the amount of donations made by any of our members to the Cathedral Organ Fund has proved very popular. The sum of £3100 has been raised to date.
In view of its popularity with our members the Friends Council has extended the Double Your Money offer until January 2022.
The Organ Fund target is £1m – so there is still some way to go!
Members of the Friends can double the value of their contributions to the organ fund by sending their donation through the Friends (subject to a limit of £10,000). EXAMPLE: Your £50 donation becomes £100 gift towards the organ fund when the donation is sent to the Friends.
There are two ways in which qualifying donations can be made.
Cheques payable to the Friends of Coventry Cathedral can be sent to 63 Daventry Road, Coventry CV3 5DH.
Payment can also be made direct to the Friends of Coventry Cathedral bank account at HSBC, PO BOX 24, City Branch, Coventry CV1 1QJ
Sort code 40 18 17 Account number 80360244
marking the payment “Organ Appeal”. If you pay your contribution direct to our bank, please confirm by email to
Coventry/Dresden-Bridging The Miles held last month to show to members the 1965 archive film of the Cathedral's Dresden Project was well attended and proved to be a great success. It has encouraged the Friends Council to plan further showings of Cathedral archive film footage at future meetings.
THE PEOPLE OF Coventry have a reputation for giving a warm welcome to immigrants and asylum seekers, as we recently witnessed in the public welcomes given to Little Amil on her journey across Europe.
Coventry’s welcoming attitude towards newcomers goes back a long way as shown by the following article published in the Coventry Evening Telegraph on 26th December, 1947.
Christmas Joy For German Detainees
About 150 German prisoners-of-war who were entertained in Coventry households this Christmas, ceased for a short time to be mere “numbers” and became individuals again.
Most of them were having their first glimpse of home life since they were on active service three or four years ago.
Their reception as guests of their Coventry hosts arose from a scheme put forward by Alderman G. E. Halliwell. His first appeal was for hosts for a dozen prisoners, but, as his plan was made public, offers of hospitality increased daily and the result was a success in every way.
Alderman Halliwell told the Evening Telegraph today: “Everybody had a good time, and I am delighted with the response to the appeal. I even had a telephone message from one household asking if an extension of leave for their guests could be arranged. But this was unfortunately impossible.”
The prisoners arrived at the Coventry homes on Christmas Eve and did not return until the evening of Boxing day.
The Chairman’s Crackers!
How did Mary and Joseph know Jesus’ weight when he was born? They had a weigh in a manger! Why is it getting harder to buy Advent calendars? Their days are numbered! Which famous playwright was terrified of Christmas? Noël Coward! How many letters are in the Christmas alphabet? Only 25, there’s no L! What would you call an elf who just has won the lottery? Welfy Why did Rudolph get a bad report card? Because he went down in history. How much did Santa pay for his sleigh? Nothing. It was on the house.
GAIA, an artwork by Luke Jerram, came to Coventry Cathedral Ruins last month. The planet earth, 7 metres in diameter, floated in three dimensions, creating a feeling of awe for the planet similar to the experience of astronauts. Its impact was augmented by a surround-sound composition of composer Dan Jones. You may have noticed GAIA in the background of the TV coverage of November's COP-26 conference in Glasgow.
EPSTEIN'S St. MICHAEL has had a professional clean to prepare him for later in 2022 when the Cathedral will host a major exhibition of Jacob Epstein's work.
The Friends membership application form is available online –
CHORISTERS, CANDLES AND Christmas go together to create a real festive feeling. These two photos are hard to date with precision but the top photo goes back to c1969, and the lower photo back to the 1980s. (Can you help with the dates?)
Choristers of every generation will gather at the Grand Reunion of former choristers taking place in May 2022. To discover more about the Reunion all former Cathedral choristers are invited to get in touch with Mike Smith, who was himself a Cathedral chorister and who is coordinating the event.
Mike Smith’s contact email address is -
Greetings from TONY AUTY
(former Property Manager of the Cathedral)
It has been an honour and a privilege to work for the Cathedral for the last eleven years. The time has flown by.
I have great memories (good and not so good!) to take into retirement, so I thought I would let you have my top five:
1. The Golden Jubilee Service-spectacular and moving
2. The significant vertical crack in the SW corner of the Ruins, which opened up overnight- quite a challenge and very expensive to rectify.
3. Project Managing the waterproofing of the Crypts-uncovering floor tiles, ledger stones, ashes etc from the bombed Cathedral,
4. The Mogwai concert in the Nave-very loud but a great atmosphere.
5. The morning I turned into the lower car park and noticed something oozing from the access to the basement beneath Haigh Lodge, which turned out to be raw sewage-a collapsed foul sewer had caused the flow to back up and flood the basement. The worst smell I have ever encountered! It required an extensive clean-up by a specialist firm and repairs to the sewer.
I have no doubt that I will miss the annual installation of the Christmas trees and the Easter Cross, not to mention blocked toilets, roof leaks, rodents, peregrines, squirrels and resolving car parking issues, but it’s the people as much as the buildings which make the place so special.
My thanks to the many people who have helped me along the way. Too many to name but in terms of the volunteers and Friends of the Cathedral particularly Ted Hiscocks who alerted me to job vacancy, Richard Chamberlain-Brothers, Martin Williams, Brenda Stokes and Godfrey and Mrs Armitage. Thanks also to the late John Hosiene and Sue, Andrew Murray, Jan & Gez Clarke, and David Howarth who were all so helpful and welcoming when I started. Respect also to the Cathedral Architects, the now departed Michael Clews and Kelley Christ, both of whom I much enjoyed working with.
Best wishes to the new Property Manager and I look forward to seeing some of you at a Friends’ event in the not-too-distant future.
AMICI is a choir made up of singers associated with the Cathedral. The choir presents concerts of sacred music to raise funds for the Friends of Coventry Cathedral to apply in support of our Cathedral's music.
Tickets for this concert are £10 in advance and £12 at the door from either Mary Pettifer (07743585140) or Gilly Lang (07799482317)