Everybody needs friends, those who can support you in what you’re trying to achieve whilst being able to be honest about what they see.
The cathedral is no different and we’re blessed to have a strong, supportive Friends Association. And as the Friends approach their 90th anniversary we spoke to the Chair, Alan Matthews, about its work and hopes and dreams for the future.
A former Headmaster, Alan can trace his association with our building back to his time as a Liverpool Institute student “I watched the cathedral being built and we had many discussions about whether it would ever be completed” explains Alan, “my best friend was a chorister so I got the inside story on the choir and grew to be fascinated and to love the place”
Like so many Alan has fond memories of great occasions at the cathedral. Occasions such as the service in 1978 when the cathedral was completed “it had been put back a couple of times and was a rush to get the building finished in time,” recalls Alan.”So at the service the great west doors were not in place and the choir were arranged in front to hide that from the Queen”
Alan’s favourite service was when the Queen came back to distribute the Royal Maundy money in 2004. “this was a truly magnificent service with the full pomp and ceremony you would expect from the cathedral – and an additional honour to meet and talk to the Queen and Prince Philip after the service”.
It was an unexpected honour when Dean Rupert invited Alan to chair the Friends association and a challenge he accepted. Keen to work in partnership with Dean and Chapter, Alan sees the role of the friends as being able to support the life, work and ministry of the cathedral by providing things that couldn’t otherwise be afforded.
“Originally the Friends sole purpose was to raise funds to build the cathedral but when it was complete we rightly turned our attention to work that could support other areas of the cathedral’s ministry.” So the Friends have supported the successful Passion Plays, helped pay for cloaks and copes, purchased a Quad bike for the Constables and a cherry picker for our maintenance team amongst a whole host of other projects. “Any team in the cathedral can put forward a request but always make sure that it is something that is needed, can be achieved , wouldn’t be done otherwise and is supported by Chapter” explains Alan.
Now with the launch of the £24m for 2024 campaign the Friends are once again re-examining how they support the cathedral. The original Friends were entrepreneurs who had a vision for the building of this cathedral. The vision for 2024 recaptures that zeal and the cathedral has launched Liverpool Centenary Builders where we look for a new generation to ensure this cathedral has a great future beyond its centenary. Becoming a centenary builder you will automatically be a Friend of the cathedral and part of the great legacy of supporters.
“We need new members” agrees Alan, “it is a challenge facing all cathedrals but it is good to be able to offer something back to a place we all love and which means so much. This is a great cathedral and it is great to be a part of it”.
About the Friends of the Cathedral:
Founded in 1925 as the Cathedral Builders it is the oldest association of its kind in the country. As the building was completed it changed its name to the Friends of the Cathedral.
The Friends aim to help Chapter fulfil its duty of worship and contribute to maintaining, improving and adding to our fabrics, furnishings and vestments. They also look to support activities that preserve and beautify the cathedral, it’s history and its music.
Anyone can become a friend. Benefits include 10% discount in the shop, newsletters and social gatherings as well as being invited to the Friends Festival Service and receiving their twice yearly newsletter
Above all a Friend is standing on the shoulders of giants contributing to a range of worthy projects that benefit the life of the cathedral.
For more information contact The Friends Office
Liverpool Cathedral, St James Mount, Liverpool, L1 7AZ 0151 702 7214 firstname.lastname@example.org