Flower spectacular

17 July 2008

by Margaret Duggan

SALISBURY CATHEDRAL reports a record 18,000 visitors to its Flower Festival celebrating the building’s 750th anniversary. “Uplifting”, “glorious”, and “absolutely amazing” were some of the superlatives used by those who came, many for the first time.

The 550 arrangers and designers were led by Michael Bowyer, shown here with the Dean of Salisbury, the Very Revd June Osborne, who said the cathedral had had its most spectacular week: “We can’t remember another like it.” They have a full programme of celebrations planned for the summer.

They have already had the Salisbury Musical Society and Symphony Orchestra performing Vaughan Williams’s music, marking both the cathedral’s anniversary and the 50th anniversary of the composer’s death. And last weekend nearly 1000 pilgrims gathered at Old Sarum, the site of the original cathedral of Salisbury.

After a short service, and a dramatic re-enactment of the Saxon bishops’ being driven out of the earlier cathedral by the Norman warriors, the pilgrims were led by the two Suffragan Bishops of Ramsbury and Sherborne along ancient pathways to the present cathedral, where they were joined by the Sudanese bishops and their wives who are here for the Lambeth Conference. A celebratory service outside the west front included a dedication of the new statue in its niche of the Sudanese priest and martyr Canon Ezra Baya Lawiri (Real Life, 27 June).

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