Society Diary: How much fun is your local cathedral?

06 Sep 2019 News

The Bishop of Lynn, the Rt Revd Jonathan Meyrick, delivered a sermon from the helter skelter installed in Norwich Cathedral

Bill Smith

What a week readers. As far as Diary is concerned, the only winner from the slow, painful and very public implosion of our once feted political system is BBC Parliament, which has won over a raft of new fans as people watch parliamentary conventions they never knew existed being torn up on live TV. 

Anyway, onto this week’s charity satire: our angle on the big political story of the week (the puppy) and an investigation into the lengths some cathedrals are going to in a bid to attract new worshippers. 

Political puppy panic 

Diary, like the rest of the country’s serious political journalists, has been focused on the big news of the week, namely the prime minister’s new puppy. 

Diary was initially concerned that someone working long hours and travelling frequently is not an ideal pet owner, but maybe Boris’s brother Jo could puppy sit, now that he has more time on his hands?

Anyway, when Diary realised that the animal shelter that had rescued and looked after Boris’s new pup had mounted a fundraising campaign to clear its debts, it seemed reasonable to call and check that the PM had made a donation. 

It’s fair to say our call was not great with enthusiasm by Downing Street’s press office, who said: “Well, we’ll have to ask some questions to the right people.” Yes please. That is quite literally your job.  

We’re still waiting to hear back, but promise to continue chasing – after all, what else could Downing Street be working on. If it takes this scandal – that the PM has selfishly exploited a struggling animal charity in a shameless bid to distract the media from the mess he is making – to prompt a mass walk out of Tory MPs, then so be it. 

‘Fun Cathedrals’ 

One of Diary’s highlights of the summer was the “fun Cathedrals” trend. For those who didn’t make it to the beautiful medieval buildings in Rochester or Norwich this year, let Diary enlighten you.

Firstly, Norwich Cathedral, supported by the Norwich Cathedral Trust, installed a helter skelter inside the building. 

The idea, according to the Reverend Andy Bryant, is not purely to raise money (£2 a go) but to enable visitors to take a closer look at the building’s beautiful ceiling (before sliding back down to the ground on a hessian mat).

Diary can see where they are coming from. When you want a better look at your ceiling at home, perhaps when you are changing a lightbulb, the obvious solution is to install a Victorian amusement ride in your living room. That’s what Diary does anyway. Gives the neighbours something to gossip about when they see it being delivered.

Meanwhile, not to be outdone, Rochester Cathedral installed a crazy golf course down its medieval nave. Diary’s already a big fan of medieval naves so it can barely comprehend the excitement it would experience when faced with Rochester’s miniature sports-filled walkway. That has got to be the craziest of all golf in at least the whole of Kent.

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