'Making Hereford Cathedral relevant for the future'

Hereford Cathedral A recent two-year restoration of the Cathedral Close was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund

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"The cathedral's been here for so many centuries," said the dean of Hereford Cathedral, the Very Reverend Michael Tavinor.

"I think every generation has to play its part in not just restoring, but bringing new things into the cathedral and making it relevant to today's generation."

Much of the building that stands proud in the centre of the city of Hereford today was originally built in the 12th Century, although cathedral records show the diocese of Hereford actually dates back to 676.

A £5m restoration project of the Cathedral Close area was completed last year thanks to a mix of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and other separate donations.

Start Quote

The refurbished cathedral close is not just for the cathedral, it's for the whole community”

End Quote The Very Reverend Michael Tavinor Dean of Hereford Cathedral

But it is not the first time a big project has been undertaken. A notable one was when the cathedral's west front and tower collapsed in 1786, prompting a seven-year restoration.

Mr Tavinor helped oversee the latest project in the Close, which included restoring some of the stonework.

"We've also introduced new elements into the cathedral," he said.

"For instance, if you go to the west end you can see a wonderful apple tree in mosaic based on the carol Jesus Christ the Apple Tree."

Glyn Morgan, chief executive of Hereford Cathedral Perpetual Trust, said he believed clerics and other officials at the cathedral had to think of future implications when it comes to the building's upkeep.

Mr Morgan said: "When you're doing some of the stonework now you know that you're planning for 500 years' time.

'Worth every penny'

"Our stonemasons were contracted in separately but some of them have worked here 20 years. They become friends and part of the community.

"[The Close] was a project which we knew would be defining the space for 150 years.

Creation of the apple tree mosaic The apple tree mosaic outside the cathedral was created from 100 individual pieces

"The work we do with the legacy market of building up endowment funds for the choir, for the fabric - you're having to make decisions which you know people in 400 years' time will actually be having to deal with."

The latest restoration work may have cost a lot of money but Mr Tavinor said he believed maintaining churches and cathedrals "is worth every penny".

"Thousands and thousands come each year," he said.

"I think they wonder at these places. It puts them in touch with something outside themselves.

"The history, the beauty, the colour, the sense of mystery - all that is beyond price and people are nurtured and fed by it."

Steve Kerry, Hereford City Council's town clerk, said he agreed a properly-maintained cathedral was key to the future of the city which relies on tourism to boost the local economy.

"You can't separate the cathedral from the city," he said.

"We recognise the cathedral is the biggest single draw and look forward to working with it and other attractions to promote the city."

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