February – A Month in Waiting

26th February 2021

February was a month in waiting: waiting for the green shoots of spring, and the Government to announce its much anticipated road map out of lockdown.

Chichester Cathedral teamed up with a local restaurant company and local art gallery owner to launch the Friday Lunch Club, which saw them cooking and delivering a two course hot meal to the lonely, older and more vulnerable in their communities every week.

Worcester was the latest cathedral to join the fight against the pandemic when it opened its doors as a Covid- testing centre. Regional, national and international photographers continued to visit those cathedrals that were hosting vaccine and Covid-testing clinics to document how we were helping support the NHS.

A new survey was launched asking people for their views on what practical and spiritual help churches could offer as we moved out of lockdown towards recovery.

Pancake Day went online this year and saw Bradford, Chichester, Wells, Ripon, and Winchester Cathedrals all get creative, and all our cathedrals prepared to mark the season of Lent in lockdown.

February Cathedrals in Waiting

Lincoln Cathedral and Southwell Minster both announced that public worship – suspended since January to keep people safe in the wake of rising infection rates – would resume on Ash Wednesday.

Leicester launched Tree of Loss: Tree of Hope in their cathedral and invited people to buy leaves to “grow” this memorial tree with memories of loved ones and significant events missed due to the pandemic, while Southwell, Rochester and Worcester Cathedrals all announced they would host The Leaves of the Trees, an installation of 5,000 steel Hope leaves, created as a reflective memorial to the effects of the pandemic by artist Peter Walker, later this spring.

Lincoln Carlisle and Ripon received cash boosts form the Government’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund to kickstart work put on hold by the pandemic, and Exeter, which was using the quiet of lockdown to progress its essential restoration and major refurbishment on its 13th century Chapter House, also announced it had been awarded a £35,000 grant to help fund essential investigation work at its historic Church House.

With the slow roadmap to recovery outlined, our cathedrals began to draw up plans to re-open in line with Government and Public Health guidelines, while to underline the point, Wakefield Cathedral’s clock that had stopped in lockdown, was re-started thanks to generous donations and a grant.

Norwich Cathedral revealed new dates for the nation’s favourite dinosaur, Dippy to take up residence in the cathedral on the last stop of his nationwide tour.

And as the month ended, Worcester, Ripon, Bradford, and Coventry cathedrals announced they would toll their bell 100 times on Saturday 27 February in memory of the Second World War veteran Captain Sir Tom Moore on the day of his funeral while a prayer for him was read during Saturday’s Evensong at Winchester Cathedral before the Cathedral bell tolled.

The Dean of Worcester, Peter Atkinson said:

“Captain Sir Tom Moore exemplified the very best of human courage, compassion, resilience, hope and generosity under extraordinary and challenging circumstances. We are proud to honour him by tolling the bourdon bell in his memory. Our thoughts remain with his family and loved-ones.”

Worcester Cathedral bells toll for Captain Sir Tom Moore


Rest in peace, Captain Sir Tom Moore