Canon Wray’s Sock Day, Wednesday 21 January 2015
At this time of year, as the night time temperatures are plummeting, Manchester Cathedral is looking to the legacy of one of their great historic characters, Canon Wray, to support the Booth Centre in its work with people finding themselves cold and homeless on the streets of Manchester in the New Year.
Canon Cecil Wray was a very popular, if slightly eccentric, priest who died in 1866 after serving for 56 years. He was a contemporary of Joshua Brookes, and a rival to the claim of being the most prolific baptiser and ‘marrier’ in English history. Records show that he presided over 33,211 christenings, 13,196 marriages and 9,996 funerals as a result of the massive growth in population in Manchester during the Industrial Revolution.
Canon Wray was not afraid to speak his mind or get involved in Manchester’s political and social issues. He campaigned for new schools, the reduction of the working day to 10 hours for mill workers and was known for his sympathy for the needs of the poor. ‘Canon Wray’s Birthday Gift’ is a fund he set up in 1866 for the provision of socks for the poor on the anniversary of his birthday.
From now up until the 21 January, Manchester Cathedral is collecting socks, new pairs or any surplus pairs received over Christmas, which will be given to the Booth Centre for distribution. Mancunians are encouraged to donate socks by putting them into Canon Wray’s very own the sock box, designed and made for free by the kind folk at Transmission Creative Design and ASAP Digital, in Manchester Cathedral.