A five day festival which has drawn thousands of visitors from across the diocese and beyond has been declared a success by the Dean of Ripon, Very Revd John Dobson (pictured left at the Bank Holiday Monday beer festival with two of the many volunteers - and right helping behind the bar with Canon Paul Greenwell).
It’s the first time that a five day festival has been held at Ripon Cathedral, opening up the 12th century building to a wider public. Across the Mayday bank holiday weekend, there were food and drink festival, jazz, historical talks, guided tours, plays, choral music, and more than thirty floral displays, topped off with the Ripon Cathedral Beer Festival on Bank Holiday Monday.
Significantly the vision document for the future, Growing God's Kingdom, was unveiled by the Dean who said it had been a remarkable weekend: "“We have welcomed a great number of people over the four days – in their thousands; people from right across the region and well beyond, all enjoying the different aspects of the Cathedral’s life. It’s also been a great opportunity to launch the vision for the Cathedral , Growing Gods Kingdom, to talk about the different parts of the vision for developing the Cathedral buildings and the whole cathedral estate which people have been very interested in.”
As part of the five day festival, Ripon Cathedral Revealed, the Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines (pictured right) was quizzed by ITV Calendar’s presenter, Duncan Wood who interviewed him about a range of subjects – from his early career at GCHQ to his radio broadcasts, from football and church attendance to making the Bible relevant and interfaith relations.
Dean John unveiled the vision for the cathedral at an opening Jazz and Canape evening. More than two hundred guests were entertained with jazz - from the youngsters of the Richmond Jam Jazz Band – and a talk from Martin Fish, well-known gardener, writer and media personality, as they were given a preview of the nearly thirty spectacular flower displays which are on show in the cathedral during the five days.
Seventy two different readers took part in a Biblethon reading passages from the Bible - pictured right Tony Milsum reading from the Psalms
A running feature of the weekend was a food festival with stalls selling a wide variety of hot and cold food, exhibiting and selling everything from ale, pies and pizzas to seafood, sweets and sausages.
Other highlights in the provisional programme included embroidery display and workshops, drama with Terrible Tales of Ripon, behind the scenes with the choir , a carousel on forecourt, bell tower tours, spirituality and history talks, and a charity exhibition.
Dean John added, “The whole festival weekend offered a hige variety of activities supporting local business and organisations, as well as an opportunity which people took to see behind the scenes at this remarkable place."