A message from the Chairman of
The Friends of Coventry Cathedral
Chairman's E-News
                                 July 2022

Cathedral Platinum Birthday Honours

TWO NEW OFFICERS of the Order of the British Empire appointed in the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Birthday Honours list are well known to many members for their links with Coventry Cathedral.
      His Honour Anthony Cleary, the founding editor of the Family Court Practice, was awarded the honour for services to the family justice system.   He is a familiar face as a choral clerk of the Coventry Cathedral Choir.
      The Reverend Canon Dr. Paul Oestreicher, described in the citation as Priest, Journalist and Broadcaster, received his award for services to Peace, Human Rights and Reconciliation.   Canon Oestreicher was a Cathedral residentiary canon from 1986 to 1997 when he was Director of the International Ministry.
At the start of the four day celebration of her Platinum Jubilee the Queen began a chain of lights across the world when at Windsor Castle she touched a model globe.  
The Cathedral Ruins, bathed in red, white and blue lights, was the venue for the Coventry beacon that was lit at a civic event entitled “Hope For The Future”. Across the UK more than 2,000 beacons were lit to mark the occasion.

     ELVIS PRESLEY DIED on the 16th August 1977.  
     Three days later the chairman of the Elvis Presley Fan Club in Coventry, Ron West, telephoned the Cathedral offices with a request.
  “I am a bus driver by trade, but I am speaking on behalf of the local Elvis Presley fans.   He died the other day.   We want to hold a service in his memory tonight, and I am asking if the Cathedral can help us.”
     The call was put through to Canon Joseph Poole, who later wrote that two thoughts flashed into his mind as he listened.  What an honour for the Cathedral to be invited by these people to help them; and “Of course, we must help them if we can.”
     Ron explained that the service was to be held in The Climax Inn, a Coventry city centre pub, at 9.15pm that night.   Canon Poole agreed to meet him there.
     Dressed in his distinctive grey Coventry Cathedral cassock and wearing his black coat and hat, Canon Poole arrived promptly trailing members of the Cathedral youth club behind him.   The Climax was packed.   The Chairman was behind the bar pulling pints but as soon as introductions were over he thrust forward a microphone in the direction of his visitor, banged loudly on the bar and shouted - ”Silence, please, we’re going to have a service.”
     Canon Poole spoke over the microphone of the ways in which the music of Elvis had helped many young people to conquer the hell of loneliness which weighed just as heavily with the young then as it does today.    “Elvis banished this loneliness.   Their admiration of him, and their affection for him, bound them together, millions of them all over the world, into a company of people who no longer felt alone.”
     He read from the “Last Poems” of A E Housman – “The rain, it streams on stone and hillock…”
     That was followed by Psalm 130 – “Out of the deep have I called unto thee, O Lord…”
And before the blessing a simple prayer –
     Grant, O Lord God, that the soul of they servant ELVIS who at thy bidding has left this world, may rest in thy peace and protection, and reign in thy kingdom in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.  

Canon Poole recalled – “When I had finished speaking, there was silence still, a silence which lasted for some time.   Then a very strange thing happened.   There was a sharp outburst of clapping, as sharp as rifle fire.   Never before, in all my life, had I heard Divine Service applauded.”

A reporter from The Coventry Evening Telegraph was present and wrote:
     Weeping Elvis Presley fans packed a Coventry city centre pub to pay a touching farewell to their idol, who died on August 16.   Hundreds were turned away from The Climax pub in The Arcade, as teddy boys and rock’n’roll fans mourned the death of the star.
     An evening of non-stop Presley music was halted for a ten-minute service, given by Canon Joseph Poole, the Precentor.
     “It was a stupendous evening,” said Ron West, president of the Bootlace Club who organised the evening.   “During the service there was weeping everywhere and afterwards the emotion was so great that there was a spontaneous minute’s silence.”

     I am telling this story not only because I am a fan of early rock and roll, but because the service is mentioned in a recently published book – Cymbals and Dances.   Canon Joseph Poole, our former Precentor, is the author, and his work is published for the first time in 2022 through the efforts of his family and friends.
     Joseph Poole was described by Provost Bill Williams as “the greatest liturgist in the Church of England this century.”    He devised experimental services for Coventry Cathedral that introduced into worship many actions in services that we take for granted today.   He believed in the importance of involving laity in worship, so during the Communion around the high altar lay representatives stood alongside the celebrant.  
     The Peace was first tried in Coventry Cathedral as an experiment; we now take it as read.   “In so many ways, Joseph’s extraordinary liturgical imagination prefigures much of the liturgical developments within the Church of England in recent years, and for this, and for much else, we here in Coventry feel rightly proud, as well as deeply thankful.” (Canon Adrian Daffern, Precentor 2003-2010)
     The new book explains what church liturgy means and explores ways in which the church’s historic and traditional prayers can be adapted to modern language use and can achieve even greater impact today.   The book includes examples and anecdotes.

Cymbals and Dances costs £22 and copies are available at the Cathedral sales desk or they can be ordered direct from the Poole family at – [email protected].

Canon Poole PHOTO GUIDE (l to r): Canon Poole conducted the first baptism to use the Bethlehem font.   He is seen relaxing on the Cathedral Choir's visit to Ottobeuren, and also speaking with a member of the Cathedral Choir that he founded.   The photographer caught both Canon Poole and his wife, Judith, at a social gathering in St Mary's Hall.


Organ recitals

On Mondays in July at 12.30pm there is a free recital on the magnificent Harrison & Harrison organ of Coventry Cathedral.   The full music programme booklet is available at the Cathedral and music information can also be found on the Cathedral website.
                         4th July 2022 – Paul Griffiths  (Dubai)     
                       11th July 2022 – Stefan Donner  (Vienna)
                       25th July 2022 – Thomas Corns  (Sheffield)

  Free for Every Member
    On the left is a picture of the FREE Cathedral bookmark available to every member of the Friends of Coventry Cathedral with their copy of CATHEDRAL REFLECTIONS.
  The Friends have published CATHEDRAL REFLECTIONS to mark the Cathedral’s Diamond Jubilee. 
    CATHEDRAL REFLECTIONS is available from members of the Friends Council and at the Cathedral nave bookstall and at St Clare’s in St Michael’s Avenue.
  The book is full of stories and photos of Cathedral events during the last 60 years.   It is an ideal tool for you to use to encourage new members to join you in the Friends.
   For those members away from Coventry the book is also available
BY POST     Order online at [email protected] and send £5 plus postage to Friends of Coventry Cathedral, 63 Daventry Road, Coventry CV3 5DH
PAYMENT  either  by cheque  or  direct to the Friend's bank
POSTAGE (single copy)
    UK - £1.65 (2nd class)
    Europe - £4.25
    Worldwide - £5.85 (standard international)
Friends of Coventry Cathedral bank account
HSBC, PO BOX 24, City Branch, Coventry CV1 1QJ
Sort code 40 18 17    Account number 80360244
IBAN: GB61HBUK40181780360244
Branch identifier: HBUKGB4103V
  Summer Sounds

ON A BALMY Summer evening in June the Coventry Cathedral Choir gave a recital at St John the Baptist Church in Wasperton for the Warwickshire guests attending a Coventry Cathedral Garden Party hosted by David and Sandra Burbidge, whose home, Cedar House, is situated next to the church.  
     The hosts afforded the Dean the opportunity to thank and to cement relationships with some of the Cathedral’s Warwickshire supporters many of whom live in distant parts of the diocese.   Many of the guests were subscribers to “Investors In Hope”, the sponsorship scheme that has done so much to stabilise the finances of the Cathedral. 
      If you would like to add your support to the Cathedral through the “Investors In Hope” scheme, please let the Dean know and he will be pleased to send you full details.
                (Email: [email protected])


THE CATHEDRAL FLECHE and Flying Angel sculpture were lifted on to the Cathedral roof on 26th April 1962 by the RAF Belvedere helicopter XG465.   The helicopter was piloted by Wing Commander John Dowling assisted by his co-pilot Flight Lieutenant R Salt and crewman, Flight Lieutenant J H Martin.
     That flight made headlines across the world, not only because of its dramatic contribution to the Cathedral, but also because of its military significance.   The flight heralded the introduction of Belvedere helicopters into service with the RAF Helicopter Support squadron.
     What subsequently happened to the helicopter, however, did not make international headlines on the same scale.    Sadly, on 30th July that same year Belvedere XG465 crashed while on NATO deployment in Germany.   In the crash six young RAF aviators lost their lives.
     In these weeks we are remembering the Cathedral Consecration 60 years ago.    Elsewhere later this month two services of remembrance for the six aviators will take place.  
     On 27th July 2022 a remembrance service arranged by the Royal Air Force Association will be held at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.   A private service of remembrance will also be held at the Memorial Garden of the RAF Helicopter Support base at Odiham in Hampshire.




     UKRAINE Quiz

     The UKRAINE QUIZ published in the May newsletter raised a total of £220 that has been passed to Coventry’s Ukranian Church community.   The church community is sending regular shipments of aid direct to Ukraine to relieve hardship amongst displaced citizens.
     Remembering that the entry fee was just £1, you can work out for yourself just how many people responded to Mary Viner’s challenging questions.   Mary was very pleased with the outcome that exceeded her expectations, and she asked me to pass on her thanks to all those members who took part.
     A member of the Friends donated one of the prizes - a goblet engraved at the time of the Cathedral Consecration as a gift to be presented to those who helped with the building of the Cathedral and the setting up of the 1962 Cathedral Festival.    As it so happened the winner of this prize was also a member of the Friends.   As she is housebound, Mary asked the Chairman to act on her behalf and to present the goblet to prize winner Tony Auty, who is known to many members as he was formerly the Cathedral’s Director of Property. (SEE PHOTO)   The presentation took place in the Old Grammar School where Tony was helping to steward the Cathedral Photo Exhibition.


Members of the Friends of Coventry Cathedral are able to access an online exhibition of RICHARD SADLER Cathedral Photos in the Friends Memorabilia section of the Friends website.   The online exhibition includes the photographs that were on display in the recent exhibition at the Old Grammar School to which additional Cathedral photographs have been added.
For members who have not yet registered on the website.  
When you log on to     friendsofcoventrycathedral.org.uk
you subscribe by entering your email address.   (You are already a member so you do not need to join again.)   You can set your own password.   This gives you exclusive access to the members’ material in the Members Memorabilia section.

The Friends membership application form is available online –

  Martin R Williams  

  [email protected]  
  63 Daventry Rd, Coventry CV3 5DH  






Copyright © 2022 The Friends of Coventry Cathedral, All rights reserved.
The Friends of Coventry Cathedral was founded in 1934. It is an independent Charity No. 1061176 registered in England and Wales, with an annually elected Council.
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