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What's On

New hands on deck

24 June 2021

We reopened to visitors on 17th May and have now welcomed 30,000 people through our famous North Door, giving a warm welcome to all who come.

Since the first national lockdown in March 2020 the cathedral has been through a major change programme pulling together a refreshed visitor offer and new staffing structure. This was in response to Covid-19 and in compliance with new legislation around the governance and management of Church of England cathedrals. 

The staffing structure is designed to offer the best possible experience to visitors and includes the creation of three new management positions. Two have been filled by external applicants, who coincidently were both previously employed by the National Trust and one filled by an existing cathedral employee.  The cathedral continues to work with around 600 volunteers, recognising and celebrating their talents and the warm welcome they give to visitors.

The Head of Visitor Experience is Pam Hill, Vanessa Ward becomes Head of Enterprise, and Clare Knowles has been appointed Head of Marketing and Digital.

Pam Hill was the House and Visitor Services Manager for the National Trust at Charlecote Park and then moved to Baddesley Clinton as the Operations Manager, which are both in Warwickshire.  After over 10 years with the National Trust Pam has had a little time out to spend time with family and is now very excited and proud to be joining the team at Durham Cathedral as Head of Visitor Experience.

Pam says, “I am passionate about providing fantastic visitor experiences and this role allows me to use my skills to ensure that our visitors get to feel the amazing atmosphere of the Cathedral whether they are joining us for religious purposes or wanting to explore this iconic building.”
Vanessa Ward was already employed here, at the cathedral as Head of Visitor Services. Her new position as Head of Enterprise makes full use of her existing knowledge the cathedral and prior experience in retail.  Her career also included a period employed by the Diocese of Newcastle. As Head of Enterprise, Vanessa oversees retail, catering, events and venue hire, and group travel. 

Vanessa says, “My role embraces the paradox of the cathedral being both a working church and a business, needing to generate income to support its mission and ministry, and the conservation of a much loved UNESCO World Heritage Site.”

Clare Knowles has been appointed Head of Marketing and Digital and joins the cathedral with over 15 years’ marketing experience in the culture and heritage sector. Most recently as Marketing Communications Consultant for National Trust, supporting properties and teams across the North region, and previously of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums working on projects with the North East Regional Museums Hub.

Clare says, “I am thrilled to be joining the team at Durham Cathedral. It’s been a tough year for culture and heritage, so I am very much looking forward to using my marketing skills and knowledge to grow the Cathedrals audiences. The change programme presents exciting new opportunities, so I am honoured to be able to work alongside the passionate staff and volunteers to tell the stories of the Cathedral, to improve visitor experience and welcome more people from our local communities, the North East and across the UK.” 

The Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett, Dean of Durham says, “Durham Cathedral is one of the region's key visitor attractions and a major place of worship.  During lockdown we took worship online, engaging with our local congregation and worshippers from around the country and the world. As lockdown restrictions are eased with visitors once again able to physically come to Durham and enjoy all the cathedral has to offer, we are looking forward to playing our part in the recovery of the tourism sector. Welcoming Pam, Vanessa and Clare to their new roles at the cathedral will aid this recovery.”