Initially set up at a time when there were increasing financial demands on the Dean and Chapter, the Friends provided funding for luxuries that the Chapter could not otherwise afford. Nowadays, the Friends are vital to the ongoing conservation and restoration of the Cathedral, and the improvement of facilities to make your visit as enjoyable as possible.
Reverend Canon Michael Hampel, Acting Dean of Durham said,
"A cathedral has many friends but those who join the Friends of Durham Cathedral add so much more than a capital letter to their friendship: they give moral and material support to what Durham Cathedral stands for. The Friends of Durham Cathedral have been doing this now for 90 years and each year of their support has enhanced our sense of community and deepened our Christian fellowship so that others may stand and say, with the Friends, How awesome is this place. This is none other than the house of God and this is the gate of heaven."
Friends from far and wide
The charity Friends of Durham Cathedral is run by a small group of volunteers who donate their time and skills. The charity has over 3000 members both in the UK and internationally as far as Uganda, Canada, Japan and Australia. It is through these memberships as well as donations, legacies, and fundraising events that money is raised to support vital work at the Cathedral.
Recent work from the Friends includes…
- Conservation cleaning and repair of the impressive 900 year old North Door. Next time you enter the Cathedral take a look at the door which was made from wood sometime between 1109 and 1144. It has certainly stood the test of time!
- Some much-needed restoration of the medieval limestone Neville Tomb that was badly damaged when Scottish prisoners of war were held in the Cathedral during the battle of Dunbar in 1650. See if you can spot it in the Cathedral nave.
- The extension of the historic plaque which lists all the Bishops, Priors and Deans who have served at Durham Cathedral since its foundation in 995. Take a look when you visit – it’s in the entrance to the Feretory (the Shrine of St Cuthbert).