THE DUKE OF EDINBURGH will be among the distinguished guests present in Westminster Cathedral on Thursday for a concert of religious and pop music launching the Cathedral's appeal for Lim for repair and maintenance.
The appeals patrons include the Prime Minister, the leaders of the Conservative and Liberal parties, Sir Alec Guinness the actor, Benjamin Britten the composer and conductor, Jean Marsh, author of the TV series "Upstairs, Downstairs," Lord Hailsham, Lord George Brown, Sir Charles Curran of the BBC and MP's Mr. Hugh Fraser and Mr. Bob Mellish.
Lt. Col, C. W. Fullbrook, The appeal manager, said money had been coming in at the rate of around £1,500 to £2,000 a day since the appeal was announced at a press conference by the Duke of Norfolk last week. Some £150,000 has already been raised, but they we're still hoping for some large institution or industry to boost the total with a large donation of up to £100,000, he said.
The press conference were told that the Cathedral costs £120,000 a year to keep open, about 20p for every visitor, and needs repairs to the roof and north west porch. Mgr. Francis Bartlett, the Cathedral Administrator, said "the leading of acres of glass will also need replacing.
Dr. Donald Coggan, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Rev. Dr. John Huxtable,
Moderator of the United Reformed Church are also patrons and the Duke of Norfolk explained: "It is an essentially ecumenical appeal." He added that he hoped "we will have the Church of England using this whenever required." Mr. Kenneth Wagg, a banker and the appeal's vice-chairman, later told the press conference that the first contributors had been "two American Jews."
The Cathedral would have been built at the restoration of the English Catholic hierarchy in 1850, but in fact it was only completed 73 years ago. The Duke said the money raised for it, as a memorial at the death of Cardinal Wiseman, was instead used by his successor, Cardinal Manning, to build schools for the poor and orphanages, which he considered the first need of the diocese.
Cardinal Vaughan chose John Francis Bentley, a convert to Catholicism, as the architect and Byzantine style was chosen because Gothic, the more obvious choice, would compete with nearby Westminster Abbey. The Duke said: "It is the most famous Byzantine building in London — we are very proud to have it." The concert, which will open the Cathedral's fund-raising drive, will be introduced by Eamonn Andrews and include the Cathedral choir, as well as the "Guys `ri' Dolls' and 'Alvin Stardust' groups, trumpeters from the Royal College of Music and readings from the Poet Laureate, Sir John Betjeman, a patron of the appeal. This will be followed later this year by a Bach concert, a Festival of Flowers and an International Choral Festival at the Cathedral.
The achievement of the Lim target will allow the setting up of a maintenance fund as well as the cleaning and restoration of the eleven foot high, ten hundredweight cross on the Cathedral's campanile. This may be removed as early as next month by a Royal Air Force Helicopter, the choice of day depending on weather conditions, the press conference were told.
Replying to a suggestion that the Cathedral had been called "a mausoleum with music" Mgr Bartlett said this might be partly due to the fact that they could not afford proper heating and lighting, The Duke of Norfolk added that it was important as the "National Catholic church" of the country.
A past appeal for the Cathedral barely paid its running expenses but the present appeal has been far more carefully prepared, the organisers said, and Mr. Wagg said he was personally certain the appeal would succeed.
For the Archbishop-elect, Abbot Hume of Ampleforth, the concert will be his first official function at the Cathedral. It is perhaps a good omen that the Spring issue of the Ampleforth journal will announce that over £800,000 has already been raised towards the £900,000 aimed at for Ampleforth School's new
buildings. Leader, page 4