Peal of Bells marks Retirement of the Dean of Lichfield

30th January 2023

A peal of bells will ring out this February to mark the retirement of the Dean of Lichfield, the Very Revd Adrian Dorber, the former chair of the Association of English Cathedrals.

The Lichfield and Walsall Archdeaconry Society will ring a special peal of bells on Saturday 18 February 2023 to mark Adrian’s retirement after over 17 years as Dean of Lichfield.

During his time, Dean Adrian has made an enduring impact on the Cathedral world, as chair of the Association of English Cathedrals, its community, and cathedrals around the UK.

Adrian became chair in 2015 succeeding the then Dean of York, now Bishop Vivienne Faull, and describes his seven years as a time of “extreme highs and lows.”

During his tenure as chair, Adrian has overseen the AEC’s expansion, securing grant funding for the Cathedrals Projects Support Panel which has seen cathedrals benefit from the specialist skills and resources of around 60 industry experts, establishing the Communications Support Project that helps to raise the profile of cathedrals and share their stories, the Peer Review scheme, introducing a project to support Chapters’ strategic governance and show their accountability, and, more importantly, he has brought cathedrals together under one roof to learn and share wisdom by initiating two National Cathedrals Conferences.

Adrian said:

“It’s been an honour and a privilege to oversee the Association of English Cathedral. I am proud of what has been achieved and I should like to thank all the cathedrals and all those who have been part of this journey alongside me.”

“My prayer is that the more we are outward facing and meet the needs of those who visit us and those who turn to us and the more we are seen to be edgy and prophetic, the more we have a good story to tell; a visible, actively Christian story,” he added.

Adrian reflects on seven years as Chair of the Association of English Cathedrals, read his words here.

As Dean of Lichfield, Adrian commissioned a five-year artist-in-residence post with artist Peter Walker and was instrumental in leading imaginative arts programmes and securing new light and sound digital art installations for Lichfield Cathedral.

Under his direction, Lichfield Cathedral was one of the first cathedrals to serve as a COVID-19 vaccination clinic and just last November he saw the reinstating of the shrine of St Chad in the location of the original medieval shrine in the Cathedral and the return of a relic to Lichfield as a gesture of unity between the Catholic Church and Church of England.

Peal of Bells marks Retirement of the Dean of Lichfield


The Dean’s last Sunday at the Cathedral will be Sunday 19 February. He will retire on 31 March and the Right Reverend Jan McFarlane has been appointed interim Dean.

Bishop Michael Ipgrave said:

“Adrian has served the cathedral, the wider community of Lichfield and our diocese with great commitment, faith and passion for the past 17 years and we will be sad to see him leave but happy for him in his well-earned retirement. We look forward to celebrating Adrian’s time in Lichfield on 19 February.”