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UK news in brief

20 October 2023

St Albans Cathedral

Last year’s fireworks display on the lake in Verulamium Park, with St Albans Cathedral in the background

Last year’s fireworks display on the lake in Verulamium Park, with St Albans Cathedral in the background

Cathedral celebrates 40 years of fireworks

THE annual fireworks display organised by St Albans Cathedral and the city hospital is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. The partnership was established to keep children safe on Bonfire Night by offering a large display to discourage fireworks at home and amateur displays, which were causing injuries. The St Albans Cathedral Fireworks Spectacular raises funds for charity: this year, the target of £1 million is to be split between the counselling charity Youth Talk, and the homelessness charity Open Door. Paul Dean, who chairs the organisers, said: “Today’s event is one of the largest in south-eastern England, attracting crowds in the region of 20,000.” He was proud never to have missed a year, even in 2020. “Despite Covid and a lockdown imposed in the preceding week, we still managed, with full police co-operation, a crowdfunded display consisting of a number of simultaneous firings from different, undisclosed sites around St Albans, which meant that most people were able to see something from their own garden or street without congregating or breaching Covid regulations.” Tickets for the display on Saturday 4 November are available online only, at: stalbanscathedral.org/fireworks


Archdeacon of Cornwall dies, aged 65

THE Archdeacon of Cornwall since 2019, the Ven. Paul Bryer, has died, aged 65, the diocese of Truro announced on Monday. The date and cause of death have not been given. He was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2021. A former RE teacher, he was ordained priest in 1991, and served his title at St Stephen’s, Tonbridge, in Rochester diocese, before moving to the diocese of Guildford in 1994, and becoming Archdeacon of Guildford in 2014. He was also a General Synod member. The Acting Bishop of Truro, the Rt Revd Hugh Nelson, said: “Paul’s confidence and faith in Christ shone through everything he did and everything he said. Whether it was cycling, preaching, doing the work of an archdeacon, walking with his beloved dog, Molly, or praying quietly, he did it for God. It has been a great privilege to serve alongside him in this wonderful diocese, and he will be much missed.” He is survived by his wife, Fiona, and three children.


Cottrell: Struggle of low-paid workers is ‘galling’

THE numbers of low-paid workers struggling in the cost-of-living crisis — including those skipping meals to get by — “are galling”, the Archbishop of York has written. In The Yorkshire Post, to mark Challenge Poverty Week, he quotes a survey of 2000 people for the Living Wage Foundation, which suggested that half of the country’s low-paid workers were worse off than a year ago, and that 39 per cent had regularly skipped meals for financial reasons. The same proportion had fallen behind with bills, and one third could not afford heating. “These numbers are galling,” the Archbishop writes. “There are 3.5 million low-paid workers in the UK, and beneath the headline statistics are millions of human stories . . . [people whose] lives have been hindered and made harder, and by circumstances entirely beyond their control.” He asks whether the country has the “political will” to reverse poverty. “Let’s speak up, not just this week but frequently, for what we want our society to look like.”


Norwich Cathedral extends welcome for girls

NORWICH CATHEDRAL is to have a choir for younger girls for the first time, the Chapter announced on Tuesday. From January, girls aged six to 18 will be able to audition alongside boys to join the cathedral choir and take up choral scholarships at Norwich School. Places for the cathedral’s younger choristers have been open only to boys, although in 1995 the cathedral was among the first to start a senior girls’ choir for 11- to 18-year-olds, the Chapter explained. There are also plans to create a new group of senior boy choristers to give teenagers the opportunity to sing. Both the groups of senior boys and seniors will be open to young people from any school across Norfolk. Children of primary-school age can also take part in a free “Be A Chorister Day” at the cathedral, on Saturday 18 November. music@cathedral.org.uk

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