Guildford Cathedral welcomed two very special visitors on Friday November 18, when Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh, joined over 800 guests for the cathedralâ€™s jubilee anniversary community thanksgiving service.
Fair weather greeted the royal couple along with crowds of enthusiastic locals lining The Queenâ€™s approach to the cathedral on Stag Hill. The visit marked 50 years since the royal guests had attended the new buildingâ€™s consecration in 1961 and signalled the celebration of half-a-century of service to Guildford and the wider diocesan community.
Schools & Projects
The invited guests, representing mainly local community projects and schools, included 150 young singers from diocesan primary schools and the cathedralâ€™s own choristers â€“ who all had the opportunity to see the special visitors at close quarters as they met representatives from local community projects, guided by Bishop Christopher and the Dean of Guildford, the Very Revd Victor Stock.
The royal guests took time to chat informally with as many people manning the displays in the cathedral as they could, while they were given a snapshot of the important work of local projects and initiatives including the Street Angels, Cathedral Choir Outreach, Guildford YMCA, The Mothersâ€™ Union, Oakleaf Enterprise, Watts Gallery and the Bishop of Guildfordâ€™s Foundation.
â€œThe Queen has vivid memories of signing a brick for Guildford Cathedral and then the great consecration of the cathedral fifty years ago,â€ said Bishop Christopher afterwards. â€œBut the accent for this visit was all about the cathedral and diocese serving the wider community now and for the future. Guildford cathedral has grown in the last half-century and it now feels like a home for so many vital community initiatives â€“ many on display today. Hereâ€™s to the next fifty years.â€
The hour-long visit came to a close with a service of thanksgiving led by the Dean, a short sermon by Bishop Christopher and prayers led by Bishop Ian.
There when it all began!
Among the special guests was 85 year-old Frank Jupp, who had not only been present on the day of the Consecration 50 years ago, but also for the laying of its foundation stone in 1936.
A beaming Frank admitted to feeling a little overwhelmed by being mentioned by name in front of the Queen, as the Bishop of Guildford paid tribute to him in the sermon.
â€œApparently she was asking about me,â€ he said.
â€œIâ€™ve been interviewed by the BBC and ITV, so itâ€™s been an unbelievable day.â€
Frank, who has continued to attend the Cathedral in the intervening years, remembered that on the day of the Consecration in 1961, crowds lining Stag Hill forced the taxi that he was in to stop and drop them off to walk the remaining distance.
â€œSo I was just glad to get a bit closer today!â€
Check back soon for more photos of the dayâ€™s event!