Singing his own song

27 February 2008

by Margaret Duggan

NOW THAT the Dean of Brecon, the Very Revd John Davies (above), is moving across the road to become Bishop of Swansea & Brecon, the cathedral might be losing one of the most vocal members of the congregation.

Smokey, the Dean’s fluffy grey cat, has been a permanent fixture in the cathedral since the Dean was appointed, seven years ago. He keeps a check on mice or birds, but spends much of his time snoozing on the cushioned chairs in the aisle until the choir comes in. Then he likes to join in the singing.

“Smokey is a very vocal cat,” says the Dean. “He makes the most awful wailing noise.” His wails once interrupted a BBC interview with the Archbishop of Canterbury during Dr Williams’s visit early in February, and he occupied the TV presenter Aled Jones’s seat during a recent recording of Songs of Praise.

He has charmed the congregation, however, and visitors make a big fuss of him; so he may not be happy to move to the Bishop’s house. Unfortunately, it is across a busy road, and Smokey is now aged about 13.

“Perhaps,” says Dean Davies, “we will have to include a willingness to take Smokey with the job when we appoint a new Dean.”

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