St Cuthbert's Durham Cathedral funded by namesake businessman

A retired businessman who shares a name with the North East's most venerated saint has funded a banner dedicated to him.

Retired businessman John Cuthbert asked his wife by text whether it would be all right to donate £30,000 to replace a lost banner to St Cuthbert.

Experts then made a copy of the original, which was destroyed during the Reformation.

It has now been placed in the saint's tomb at Durham Cathedral.

The idea to replace the lost banner was the brainchild of the Northumbrian Association.

Mr Cuthbert, of Chester-le-Street, County Durham is its honorary president and was at a fundraising event about two years ago when he decided to make a donation.

'Bedraggled bunch'

"It was just one of those things," the former chief executive of Northumbrian Water said.

"With my surname it just seemed like a wonderful opportunity to replace something which had been lost to the region, and at the same time leave a legacy for my family."

Image caption John Cuthbert said he wanted to replace something which had been lost to the region

"So I sent a text message to my wife asking if it would be OK if I offered to fund it, and she replied and said 'yes', so that was it".

There are no existing images of the original, so local artisans followed a description from a book from the time.

Mr Cuthbert described the embroidered artefact as "absolutely beautiful".

It was presented following the traditional St Cuthbert's Day walk from Chester-le-Street, where the saints remains lay for more than 100 years before they were interred at Durham.

"He must have been smiling on us, because the weather was gorgeous," Mr Cuthbert said.

"During the last eight or nine years these walks have been done in less clement weather. We've had gales, hail, and snow, and have often arrived as a truly bedraggled bunch.

"It was a tremendous experience, there were so many happy, smiling faces."

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