Royal backing for Rochester Cathedral
The countess with the
Dean of Rochester, the Very Rev Dr Mark Beach and Canon Pastor Phil
Sophie, Countess of Wessex
will do her bit to keep Rochester Cathedral standing.
The Queen’s daughter-in-law has
become a patron of the Rochester Cathedral Trust after a private
tour last week.
The charity was founded in 1985 and
looks after the structure of the 900-year-old cathedral building,
which is due its first major review in five years this summer.
She will also be involved in a
campaign to raise £5 million to help music in the cathedral, which
includes recruiting choristers from outside the exclusive King’s
Many young boys from non-fee-paying
schools across Medway will be invited to join the choir for the
first time as part of an outreach programme. Girls already join the
choir from other schools.
The Dean of Rochester, the Very Rev
Mark Beach, said: “It’s widening the net certainly.”
He added: “The Countess will be a
kind of figurehead for the fundraising for the cathedral, and in
particular at the moment that’s about raising money for the music
“It’s about raising the profile of
the cathedral. With a royal patron you can invite people to events
with the additional draw that they might meet a member of the royal
The 48-year-old royal, who is
married to the Queen’s youngest son Prince Edward, was brought up
and educated near Tunbridge Wells.
Dr Beach said: “She was fascinated
by what’s going on in the building and was particularly interested
because we’re a relatively small cathedral with relatively poor
resources in an economically varied area.
“She felt her contribution might be
more important perhaps than working with a larger cathedral in a
more affluent area.”
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