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Accountant leaves thousands to 42 C of E cathedrals

01 December 2023

Family photo

Frank Buzzard

Frank Buzzard

A MAN who loved, visited, and wrote joyfully about Church of England cathedrals has left 42 of them a legacy of £4000.

Frank Buzzard, an accountant who died last year, aged 95, had spent ten years of his retirement not only visiting cathedrals with his wife, Audrey, but writing his own guide to each one. His favourite was Lichfield, which merited 26 pages, and to which he has left £5000.

He was drawn to cathedrals for the enduring faith that they represented. His daughter, Christine, says, “Everything my father did, God was at the heart of it. Whether it was his business, sport, or simply walking around the countryside, he always insisted that God was the most important thing in his life.”

Mr Buzzard was a poet, constantly making notes on the pad that he always carried in his pocket.

He recalls sitting beneath Ely’s octagonal tower and Lantern, “where the spandrels seemed to curl over me, hanging in space almost without support; 400 tons of timber and lead giving an impression of weightlessness. To those who first saw it in the 14th century, it must have been the greatest wonder of the world.”

At Chester, he reflected on the absence of the regimental flags that had covered General Wolfe’s coffin after the Battle of Quebec in 1759: “I thought of the brave General who recited Gray’s Elegy as he sailed up the Saint Lawrence river to his final battle; he turned to his officers and said, ‘I would rather have written that poem than take Quebec. . .’”

Mr Buzzard’s daughter said: “Four thousand pounds might seem a drop in the ocean to some of the larger cathedrals. I know many of them cost more than that just to keep open each day, but, for the smaller cathedrals, this might make a difference.

“But it’s more than that. My dad’s faith was so strong, and the cathedrals were his passion, and it was his hope — as it is mine — that others will be drawn to them, too. And maybe just reading his guides might inspire a new generation of cathedral-lovers.”

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