IT IS nice to be remembered, even though I was only one of
200,000 people who bought a brick (or two) to build
Guildford Cathedral, all those years ago. Mind
you, it was nearly completed at that time, in the early 1960s - a
great spacious structure on the top of Stag Hill. Now, half a
century later, it needs £7 million for "urgent repairs, removing
acoustic plaster throughout the ceiling containing asbestos, and to
protect the cathedral for current and future generations".
A project will record the history and memories of the building
and the "unique story of the 200,000 brick-givers whose generosity
completed the building of 'The People's Cathedral'". They have put
in a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for £4.5 million, and
so far they have received £329,100 from the HLF towards submitting
a full application for funding next year, with a view to starting
work in 2015.
Now they have launched an appeal for a further £2.2 million, of
which £1.3 million is partnership funding for the Lottery bid. They
have the support of the actor Penelope Keith as vice-president of
Work on the ceiling asbestos is urgent, and I am assured that it
can be done safely, without any risk to the stream of daily
visitors. A section that had been penetrated by damp had recently
to be removed, entailing massive scaffolding and the sealing-off of
that portion of the roof.
The Dean, the Very Revd Dianna Gwilliams, is delighted at the
indication of support from the Lottery Fund: "The building is at
risk, and this is the first vital step towards both its repair and
to secure its future."