Cathedral News January 2015 • No. 636 We wish

Cathedral News January 2015 • No. 636
We wish all our readers a very Happy New Year
From the Cathedral Managing Director : Good News to start
the New Year
As we are starting the New Year, and another
cycle in the life of the Cathedral, I thought this
would be a really good opportunity to talk about
some of the many things that we have achieved
together over the last 24 months. It is easy to
forget the scale and significance of the progress
we have made, because there is just so much still
to do - the moment one project is complete, we
move on to the next , with little time for
We started off in January 2013, by receiving the
Cathedral Architect’s Quinquennial Inspection
report on the Cathedral, which gave us an idea of
the mammoth repair and conservation tasks
before us. As a result, we now have a comprehensive Works Programme in
place, which is accompanied by a Maintenance Plan designed to ensure that the
small things that need fixing don’t grow into much larger problems. In terms of
big capital projects, we have completely renovated the Pearson Building
internally and built a new education facility.
When the organ was removed in 2013, we found that we needed to commission
some urgent repairs to the pulpitum in order to make it structurally safe, and
this was accomplished in record time, despite being a very complex project.
John Allen our archaeologist, has been working hard to complete the
archaeological record of the Cloisters and we now have a Conservation
Management Plan in place, which is being quoted by the Cathedral’s Fabric
Commission for England (CFCE) as an example of best practice. Conservation
work on the West Front was completed in 2013, and we then moved on to start
major repairs on St Edmund’s Chapel. Once these are complete in 2015, we will
turn our attention to the Chapel of St Andrew and St Catherine, which is in
need of significant repair, along with the drainage system on the North side of
the Cathedral. We hope then, in 2016, to start a large project to restore the
Great East Window, and we have already undertaken the preliminary studies for
both of these projects.
Many of our recent and planned projects in the Cathedral have been informed by
our new environmental and structural monitoring system, which tells us where
the problems are, within the fabric of the building, and also where they are likely
to occur in the future. Again, we are at the forefront of technology on this –
very few Cathedrals have installed such a sophisticated system, although it is very
highly recommended by the CFCE. Lastly, during 2014, we have stripped and
repaired the lead-work and skylights on the roof of both the Pearson Building
and Church House.
In terms of our infrastructure, we have repaired the ceilings in our offices in No
1 the Cloisters, and stabilised the roof, which was in danger of collapse. We have
created a new modern records store, and a new, purpose-built computer server
room. In October we installed a new telephone system to replace the creaking
analogue one. We have also renewed the boilers and pipework in the main
Cathedral, as they would not have made it through another winter. We have
invested in new equipment in the Café, and have revamped the serving area.
There are many other areas in which we have made progress too, including
becoming a nationally accredited library and archive, which few organisations of
our size and resources achieve.
All of this work has taken place alongside running our day-to-day business, and in
parallel with putting together designs for the Roman bath-house and Cloisters
Plus. Everything I have mentioned is the product of huge effort and many, many
long working hours on the part of our staff, our architect, our archaeologist and
our volunteers. Everyone should be rightly proud of what we have achieved, and
as a result, we are making major progress in improving our facilities and in
securing our buildings for future generations. There is much still to do though,
including designing and raising funds for a new sound and data system in the
Cathedral, so it isn’t time to take the foot off the gas just yet!
I should finish by thanking the Friends, the Music Foundation Trust, the
Preservation Trust and all of our donors and benefactors, without whose
financial and personal support, none of this work would have been possible.
Finally, by now, most of you will be aware that, for family reasons, I have decided
to reduce my hours very significantly in 2015, although I will remain as Managing
Director. To address the gap, we have recruited a Deputy Managing Director by
the name of Alasdair Cameron who joined us, full-time, in early December.
Alasdair has a wealth of experience and understands cathedrals, having worked
with the Church Commissioners. He is also a keen sailor, and he was tempted
away from Church House to play a leading role in the organisation of the
Weymouth element of the Olympics. We will introduce him to you in the
February edition of the News.
Alison Davenport
Christmas Workshop
On 18 December, a record number of
27 ladies joined nine of the Cathedral
Flower Arrangers in the Pearson Room
for our workshop ‘Decorate for
We offered a variety of arrangements in
fresh or dried foliage, including door
wreaths and swags, table centres, wall
hangings and topiary trees in different
All who came thought they had excellent
value from the tuition, and appreciated
the large selection of different materials
available. At the end of the afternoon, they were able to take home some
original and varied decorations.
It was a very social occasion, with everyone enjoying tea, coffee and warm mince
We were asked when our next workshop will be – we shall be holding another
before Easter. Details will be on the Cathedral website under ‘Events.’
So – watch this (or that) space!
Sylvia Bush, Chairman of the Flower Arrangers
From the Canon Pastor : Our Planned Giving in 2015
In Chapter Nine of Paul's 2nd letter to the church in Corinth, we find a verse
that is probably one of the most overly quoted words of scripture, wheeled out
as people are encouraged to respond to the request to give regularly to the
church - 'God loves a cheerful giver'.
As we head into 2015, we want to delve a little deeper into this concept, beyond
the immediate (and often superficially used) observation above, to discover how
we can respond in thankfulness to God’s generosity to us, and be challenged to
develop a more positive attitude to giving, and the vital part it plays in our
worship. We also want to explore the concept of tithing in more detail, and
more fully understand the promises that God gives as part of that challenge why not take a look at Malachi 3:6-12 to whet your appetite?
The support given through the Cathedral's 'planned giving' scheme is tremendous
and we are so thankful for your generosity. Come Lent, it will be over 15
months since we last looked at giving, so this Lent we wanted to look again at
what God has to say to us and reflect on how we can respond. A small number
of talks, open discussions and informal studies are currently being confirmed, and
details will be published in the weekly sheets in due course. We do hope you
might want to join in with some of these, and pray that you will be blessed as we
explore how we can give of our very best in all aspects of worship together.
For now, thank you again for your continued generosity.
Ian Morter, Canon Pastor and Paul Courtney, Development Director.
Next Month
Please send all articles for December 2014 by Friday 16th January to both of
us; Heather Morgan (01392 877623) [email protected], and Sheila Atkinson
[email protected] The other members of the editorial team are
Rosemary Bethell, Clive Cohen, Laurence Blyth, and Dagmar Macqueen.
Christingle Service 2014
Thank you to everyone who helped with making the Christingles and the
Christingle Service itself. There were nine willing helpers to make up the
cocktails sticks, and fifteen to put the Christingles together, complete with
candle, red ribbon, and those fiddly cocktail sticks. We had a wonderful team
for the Service, handing out collecting candles, lighting the Christingles, ushering
and those prepared with wet teacloths for any accidents – of which there were
none, thanks to the Dean’s timely reminders.
For the Service we welcomed James and Nelson who presented the donations
to Ann Stevens from the Children’s Society, and Francesca, who read the lesson
– all done very professionally. The collection after expenses totalled £326.69.
Thank you also to Norman Pullen and his sidesmen, for their crowd control,
David Norris and his taperers who led the procession, and Anna NormanWalker for master-minding the whole enterprise.
Christine Lethbridge
A Welcome Return
I’m sure I am not alone in perceiving
the Advent Carol Service to be one
of the ‘jewels’ in Exeter’s musical
crown. It is a beautiful yet solemn
occasion, marking the start of our
annual pilgrimage to the manger.
This year, however, there was an
additional anticipational ‘buzz’ about
the service, for we were to hear our newly-rebuilt and refurbished organ for the
very first time.
For the last eighteen months the organ had watched us, silently, from atop the
screen, like a slumbering giant in our midst. Its electronic understudy had done
sterling work – as had our trio of organists – to take its place, but this was to be
the moment of truth. How would the ‘new’ organ sound? And would we be
able to hear any difference?!
So, on the evening of November 30th, an expectant congregation watched and
waited. Bishop Robert rededicated the organ, and then, under the skilful fingers
and feet of David Davies, the sleeping giant began to come back to life. From the
very first stirrings, low and quiet, it seemed to stretch and shake itself, slowly
and gradually reawakening every last pipe it possessed. We heard it call from
the Minstrels’ Gallery, answer from the screen, and eventually cry out joyfully
and triumphantly to the whole city that it was, once again, back with us, where it
belongs, at the very centre of our worship, and ready to lead us afresh towards
the manger.
Chryssa Turner
Quiet Evening : 10th February 2014
Canon Dr John Searle will lead a Quiet Evening on Tuesday 10th February 2014
from 6.30pm- 8.30pm in the Pearson Building. This will be preceded by
Evensong at 5.30pm, which those participating are encouraged to attend. Light
refreshments will be available during the evening.
This event has been arranged by, and at the initiative of, the Cathedral
Community Committee as part of our work to deepen and extend our life of
If you know that you are able to attend, please sign the list in the Chapter House
so that we have an idea of numbers, but this is not essential.
Peter …. a Cathedral Guide
‘Behold now this vast city (London): a city of refuge, the mansion house of liberty,
encompassed and surrounded with His protection.’
From Areopagitica by John Milton 1608-1674
I have considerable feelings of responsibility as I tell this man’s story. Not only
those feelings, but, also the recognition that I am indeed so fortunate, and still
am, to have been raised in, and to be living in this country. I could easily take up
all the pages in Cathedral News. I cannot, and so I can only open a window on
to his life.
Peter was born into a family of doctors in Southern Hungary. His father was a
rural GP. During the 2nd WW, when Hungary was forced to be on the German
side, he was called up for military service as medical officer to work on hospital
trains. At the ending of the Siege of Budapest in 1945, he was marched to a
Soviet POW Camp; en route he was left for dead at the roadside; but, was
rescued and made it eventually home. Peter, sitting in the summer house, saw
this bedraggled figure coming through the garden gate. The house was halfdemolished, and a machine gun was positioned opposite.
‘He didn’t speak for a few days. Then he sent for the barber to come and shave off his
beard. Within ten days he was back working as the doctor, because there were so
many people needing his help!’
Peter, an inquisitive child, with his friends, used to explore the war-time wrecks
of machinery, rotating the tank turrets etc.! One day, they dismantled a shell,
and loaded the contents into a home-made rocket launcher. It took off!
Unfortunately it landed on the thatched roof of a neighbouring cottage, causing it
to set fire. They tried to put it out with buckets of water. The old lady within
was rescued, but, the cottage was doomed.
Peter was banished to the home of his rather austere grandmother for a few
Aged nine, he started boarding at a Cistercian run school but, it was eventually
closed by the communists, so he went to the local grammar school, and took his
baccalaureate in 1951.
It had always been assumed he would train to be a doctor, so in the following
year he commenced his training at Budapest Medical School.
Since 1949, Hungary had been under the domination of the Communist Party
imposed on the country by the Soviet Union. The people suffered
from……..informers, show trials, torture and censorship. They hated the AVO’s,
the secret police..
In 1953, Stalin died. In 1956 Kruschev, the Soviet Leader of the time, was the
first person to criticise Stalin publicly.
‘It gave the people some hope. People were afraid of each other, for good reason. Years
of keeping your mouth shut and your head down. It was a time of great frustration and
In the Autumn of 1956, there was a stirring in the population. Led by
intellectuals, university students and factory workers a march took place through
Budapest in support of the Poles, who were demanding changes. An estimated
crowd of some 100,000 people! Flags hung from windows, and a notice appeared
on Stalin’s statue saying ‘ Russians go home!’. The police were in attendance, in
lorries with machine guns, and additional ammunition concealed inside
ambulances. BAD NEWS!
Peter, the medical student, was excited and saw no danger.
‘The people were on the streets without restriction…..euphoric, almost insane!’
Stalin’s statue was demolished, the Red Star torn from buildings, communist
pamphlets books burnt on makeshift pyres.. The march reached parliament. The
conscript Hungarian army stood by, then soldiers started handing out weapons,
and some of the marchers had obtained rifles, including Peter. He discarded his
when he’d run out of ammunition and after he witnessed the first person being
By dawn the next day, the Soviet tanks were on the streets, and hundreds
people were killed. Fighting intensified with thousands of industrial workers
joining in. Molotov cocktails were thrown at the tanks, and many were burnt
when caught in narrow streets.
But by the 28th of October, the tanks had been withdrawn, political prisoners
were released and changes were promised. Vengeance was wrought upon the
AVO’s. People started to clean up the streets, get food to the families who’d
suffered, and to the released prisoners; the strikes were stopped. Euphoria, and
the dawn of peace and democracy, was in the air.
It was short-lived; for some time between three and four o’clock in the morning
of the 3rd of November, the sound of canon-fire and exploding bombs was heard.
The Soviet Army returned in strength. Retribution! There were many, many
casualties. The uprising was crushed, and the West watched helpless.
It became a very rough time! Peter, and two fellow students stole a Russian
bullet-proof car, from which they delivered first-aid, food and some
ammunition,….. a kind of rescue/support service. The driver was killed. They
had obviously been followed.. Peter was arrested, and escaped twice. They had
to get away. The two of them managed to get on a train going near to the
border with Austria. They walked for days, eventually making it across and
arrived in Vienna. Here they found that ‘It was full of dirty and hungry Hungarians!’
They got jobs on a building site to earn money to survive. Where should they
go? Many of the countries in Europe were ruled by the Communist Party, and
even in the West, Italy and France had sympathetic communistic ideas.
‘Why don’t we go to England?’
The British Embassy arranged for them to take the over-night train to Boulogne.
Arriving in England, they were taken to an ex-RAF Camp, where there was a
kind commandant, who gave Peter a one-way ticket to London, with the address
of a Salvation Army Hostel in Wapping. Reaching London, he went to the Labour
Exchange to get a job. He did many…was an ‘au pair girl’ looking after a toddler,
filled sausages in a Walls factory, and worked in Joe Lyons Tea Shops as a
kitchen porter. When he successfully rescued the Teashop from disaster,
because the dishwasher had broken down, the manager suggested he go for
managerial training, Peter replied ‘I want to get back to finishing my medical studies.’
With encouragement, he got interviews for London University. The World
University Service took up his case. He was offered a place at Trinity College in
Dublin and Bart’s Hospital in London. He took up the latter, funded by a
scholarship of £35.00 per month sponsored by UNESCO, and organised by the
newspaper, the News Chronicle. He had to re-take all his examinations, and
became qualified at the age of 26 years. It was here at Bart’s that he met Mary,
who was a nurse. They married when he qualified, and ‘She cashed in all her
pension contributions to pay for our honeymoon!’
He became a Houseman at King Edward’s Hospital, Windsor, moved on to the
Westminster Children’s Hospital and St. George’s Hospital. Peter began to
develop a serious interest in haematology and later in histopathology; two years
spent in East Africa caused a surge in this interest, refining it to liver disease,
Hepatitis B Virus and liver cancers. He was appointed a consultant/senior
lecturer to the Middlesex Hospital. This involved a long, daily commute from
Weybridge, which meant that he did not see much of his family.
The London medical schools began to disintegrate and forced to merge, and
Peter started to look elsewhere. In 1977, he was appointed Senior lecturer, later
Reader and then Professor at Exeter University, and seconded to the RD&E as a
Peter retired from full-time practice in 1998, but maintains his clinical interests
by attending meetings on liver disease, and still has the corner of a room at the
RD&E. Now he had time to develop his interest in history, and a special love for
old buildings. He became an Exeter Red Coat Guide, only giving it up when he
was required to retire at 75 years.
‘I enjoyed it very much. It was refreshing!’
A friend suggested he apply to become a guide at the Cathedral.
‘I like it! It’s good not to have to worry about the weather! It can be a bit boring when
there are not many people in the building. But, I love doing the eleven o’clock daily
When I asked about his choice of reading matter, his reply was that it was
confined to medicine and history. This, also, applies to television, where he
watches the News, and documentaries concerning history, natural history and
the arts. Of course, they look forward to and enjoy the visits from their son and
his family, who live in Budapest, and their daughter, who lives in New Orleans.
You will not be too surprised to read that Peter was troubled for years by
nightmares. It was, also, traumatic, when he re-visited Budapest in 1971,
permitted to do so when a general amnesty was declared… a very difficult
journey to endure.
‘I feel I should have died with the others. I’m sorry for the suffering so many people
endured. It was very difficult; they lost so much. My brother became a successful
neurologist, the personal doctor to the leadership people- a party member. There is a
‘taboo wall’ between us.’
The speaking with Peter, and the writing of this Focus has been an emotional and
intellectual challenge for me. There is so much for us to learn from Peter’s
experiences; particularly in these times when there are thousands of men,
women and children seeking refuge from tyranny, and/or hardship in many parts
of our world. As Peter reminded me, we have to be grateful that we are being
spared from the worst.
I am very grateful to Peter, for giving me the opportunity of viewing a DVD of a
BBC programme which was broadcast on the 50th anniversary of the uprising in
2006. It was a sobering experience.
‘We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal; that they are
endowed by their Creator with certain un-alienable rights; that among these are life,
liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’ (The American Declaration of Independence 4th
of July,1776)
Thank you, Peter for sharing your story with me.
Rosemary Bethell
Ed. For understandable reasons, Peter has a natural reticence, hence on this occasion,
the absence of a photograph, and his wish to be known simply as Peter, a Cathedral
Very many thanks to all who supported our annual shoebox appeal in
November. On Advent Sunday, Canon Morter blessed 75 shoeboxes at the end
of the 10am Eucharist, then Pete Francis kindly transported them all to
Copplestone, on the first stage of their journey to some of the needy children
and elderly folk in Eastern Europe.
Thank you to all those of you who kindly filled, helped to sort, or donated
money towards transport costs for this project. The boxes are always very
gratefully received, both by the charity (International Aid Trust), and by the
recipients themselves.
For the benefit of those who were in the Cathedral on Advent Sunday morning
and heard Canon Norman-Walker's sermon: I hope this will be 75 smiles on the
face of God!
Chryssa Turner
Burns Supper : 24th January 2015
You are warmly invited to a Burns Supper,
organised by the Fellowship Committee, on
Saturday 24th January 2015 at 7pm in the
Chapter House. Haggis, neeps and tatties will
be served, with trifle for dessert, as is the
custom. (Please contact Peggy Conway in
person or via a message in the Cathedral
Office if you can help by making a trifle).
There will also be a “wee dram”, as is also the custom! The haggis will be piped
in. Denis Whitehead and Bishop Martin Shaw will entertain us, and ensure that
the evening is conducted in accordance with tradition. There is no dress code,
but if you have something tartan you are encouraged to wear it.
Tickets, price£10 are available in the Chapter House after 10am Sung Eucharist.
Large Print and/or the News on coloured paper
If you would like a large print version of the News, or would find it easier to read
on coloured paper, please ask the Sidesmen (on a Sunday) or at the Welcome
Desk at other times.
Forthcoming Events : From Laurence Blyth, Marketing Manager
Wednesday 21st January 2015, 13:00-14:00 : The Monmouth Rebellion
Roger Mortimer
Reckless adventure or noble crusade?
Monmouth’s Rebellion is an important and dramatic event in our West Country
From the Court of Whitehall to the Battle of Sedgemoor and the horrors of the
Bloody Assizes, join us for an exciting visit to the past.
Tuesday 24th February 2015, 13:00-14:00
Tales from the Organ Loft: A Life in Cathedral Music
Andrew Millington (Director of Music, Exeter Cathedral)
Andrew Millington looks back on a lifetime’s career in church music, with
reminiscences of Worcester, Gloucester, Guildford and Exeter cathedrals.
There will be some serious thoughts mixed with anecdotes about the variety of
characters he has worked with over the years.
Tickets for each of these lectures are available from (no booking fee), and the Visitors’ Office (01392
£3 Adults, £2 Friends/Cathedral Volunteers/Residents’ Card Holders
Each lecture takes place in the Pearson Education Centre unless otherwise advertised
on the day.
Celebrity Organ Recital by John Scott on 4th February 2015
(Organist and Director of Music at St Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue, New York)
A highly regarded choir trainer, composer and arranger, John Scott is widely
recognised around the world as one of the leading recitalists, so we are
extremely proud to announce his performance here in Exeter, the first recital on
the newly restored organ.
Music by Candlelight 11th February 2015
Our three resident organists (Andrew, David and Stephen) will put the organ
through its paces, ably supported by the Choristers, Lay Vicars and Choral
Scholars of the Cathedral Choir.
Tickets available online from or from the
Visitors’ Office (01392 285983).