This year the Canterbury Cathedral Diocesan School Days were held on the 15th and 16th of November. During the morning the children took part in workshops and in the afternoon all gathered together in the Cathedral to take part in an act of worship. Our volunteers stewarded groups of children to the various workshops which included needlework, stonemasonry, singing, making roundels, pottery and painting to name but a few. After lunch everyone gathered together in the Nave for a service which started with the children parading their school banners down the central aisle and creating a most amazing spectacle. A member of the clergy led the service and different schools contributed to the fellowship with prayers, singing and dancing. Both days ran without a hitch and the children had a very memorable, fun day which was down to the meticulous planning and organisation by the Diocesan Education Team and the Cathedral Schools Department and earned them some well-deserved plaudits.
I just wanted to say a huge thank you and well done for the incredible Cathedral Schools Day on Wednesday.
My class thoroughly enjoyed all their workshops and as I went round to see them, all the group leaders were engaging and captivating. The service itself was also wonderful, such an amazing opportunity for the children (and me!) to sing in the Cathedral – it was a brilliant sound! And as for the banners – well – the two children from my class were beaming from ear to ear to have had that opportunity to process down the Nave and stand on those magnificent steps.
Thank you ever so much for all your hard work
Mrs Kim Issitt, Diocesan & Payne Smith CEP
I just wanted to say what a lovely day we all had at the Cathedral Day last Wednesday. All the children came back buzzing with news of their workshops and the whole experience. Thank you for such a well organised day, we at Brabourne CEP appreciate all the hard work of you and your team, both on the day and all the build up beforehand. I personally really enjoyed the singing which I felt brought us all together as a very large group!
The leaders were sensitive to our children and enthusiastic with their message, despite it being day 2 for some of them.
Thanks once again.
Mrs J Roach, Brabourne CEP
Thank you to the Diocesan team for a wonderful and uplifting day – our appreciation from staff and pupils for all the hard work at front of house and behind the scenes.
Kevin Bailey, Headteacher, Selsted CEP
To see some of the letters the Schools Department has received from children who have come to visit us take a look at the scans attached to the end of this document.
We have a veritable army of volunteers without whom the Cathedral would not be able to function properly and activities such as Schools Days would not happen. Here we take a moment to meet a few of our volunteers. If you would like more information on becoming a volunteer, please click here.
Joan London has been an Assistant Guide at the Cathedral for the past 13 years. Asked why she decided to become a volunteer Joan replied, ‘I was a school secretary and took early retirement and thought that I still needed to do something. I knew someone that already volunteered here and thought it might be a good idea to give it a go as I really enjoy meeting people. My ‘slot’ is a Tuesday and the other volunteers who come in at this time have built up a real rapport and we usually finish our shift by having coffee and a catch-up so it’s become quite a social occasion as well! I’m not sure if other teams are like us but we hold a Christmas lunch and meet up occasionally for dinner during the year as we all get along so well. It never ceases to amaze me the questions we get asked, there’s always something new which keeps you on your toes! We give up our time to do this but we get a lot out of it too, it’s very rewarding.’
Retired teacher, Colin Johnson decided he would still like to be involved in teaching in some capacity as he enjoys working with children, so volunteering at the Schools Department fitted the bill. Five years on as a volunteer and Colin still enjoys it tremendously. ‘It’s a beautiful Cathedral and it’s good to demonstrate it is a working church because for many children – and adults – now it’s outside their normal experience.’
Since taking early retirement, Hugh Elsom, a former teacher, started volunteering at the Cathedral almost 15 years ago as a general guide. He then got involved with the Schools Department as a volunteer and has never looked back. ‘I come in as-and-when they need me which can be twice a week during the summer. During my teaching career I taught History and RE to secondary school age children but here I have the opportunity to take all age groups and it’s been fascinating. It’s a great way of keeping my teaching skills up to speed and sharing knowledge with groups of interested young people. Acting is a favourite hobby of mine so I particularly enjoy the dressing up and often find myself as Henry VIII or Archbishop Alphege!’