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Coping after the fire

THIS COPE is a gift from Derby Cathedral Chapter to its former Dean, who is now the new Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Revd Michael Perham.

It is a phoenix, having been created by Suzanne King (pictured right) from a pencil-sketch design left by the late Canon Leonard Childs, who ran the Derby Cathedral embroidery workshop for 30 years.

The double tragedy came last February, with both the death of Canon Childs and a fire in the crypt which destroyed most of the cathedral’s vestments, some antique and valuable. Many had been designed and produced under Canon Childs’s leadership. He seemed to cope with the loss remarkably well, and “started working furiously at how to replace them”, says Mrs King. But two weeks later he collapsed and died: whether from shock, who can say?

The members of the workshop felt that, for his sake and their own, they should carry on as best they could. Mrs King, who had worked with Canon Childs for 20 years, picked up the pencil sketch for the cope and stole almost immediately, and from his scribbled notes developed the design in traditional Advent colours. The Bishop wore his new cope for the first time on Advent Sunday.
 

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