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Rochester Cathedral golf course sparks row

A new crazy golf course in Rochester Cathedral has sparked a fierce debate.

The free, nine-hole course opened to the public on Saturday and is "just about having a little fun".

But some people are deeming it an "inappropriate" and "embarrassing" way to treat a place of worship.

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Rochester Cathedral opens controversial mini golf course

Reverend Matthew Rushton assures there is still plenty of space for people to go about their worship in peace as Fairway to Heaven is only in one part of the cathedral.

He said: "People need to remember the nave has always been a place for people to meet and interact.

"Worship is completely unaffected and we will continue to run at least three services a day while the golf course is here."

Many of those who disapprove the new feature have taken to Twitter to share their outrage.

One woman said: "There are no words - someone was entrusted with the care of this beautiful architectural gem and they come up with this."

Rochester Cathedral crazy golf course has angered some church-goers
Rochester Cathedral crazy golf course has angered some church-goers

And Tonbridge and Malling MP Tom Tugendhat said: "Is this better or worse than money changers?"

However, the cathedral has been busy since the course opened and many are supporting the quirky addition.

The idea came about at a national conference last year, when the Archbishop of Canterbury said 'you've got to have fun in cathedrals'.

Reverend Matthew Rushton of Rochester Cathedral
Reverend Matthew Rushton of Rochester Cathedral

Rev Rushton is standing by his crazy golf course, saying it is a way to encourage more people to come and enjoy the "wonderful, sacred space."

Fairway to Heaven is a joint project with Rochester Bridge Trust, so is also being used to educate families on bridge engineering.

Rev Rushton said: "This has been a great success and is just one example of how cathedrals are thriving at the moment.

"Cathedrals up and down the country are doing their own fun things - one even has a helter skelter."

In September, a 27-foot knife sculpture will replace the golf course.

The Knife Angel is made of knives surrendered to police, and is being homed in cathedrals across the country.

He added: "If you are going to get outraged, let it be with issues like knife crime.

"There's nothing wrong with having fun - come down and have a look for yourself."

This is the second golf-related row in Medway in a week - with a man forced to remove his socks on a golf course on Wednesday as they didn't adhere to the dress code.

Rochester Cathedral isn't the only church in Kent with quirky ideas to get more people to attend - check out the others here

Read more: All the latest news from Medway

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