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City says goodbye to 'glorious' helter skelter which drew international acclaim

PUBLISHED: 20:05 18 August 2019 | UPDATED: 16:39 19 August 2019

The helter skelter installed in Norwich Cathedral as part of their 'Seeing It Differently' project. Picture: Sonya Duncan

The helter skelter installed in Norwich Cathedral as part of their 'Seeing It Differently' project. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Dozens turned out to watch the lights on Norwich Cathedral's now famous helter skelter be extinguished for the final time.

The Bishop of Lynn speaking from the helter skelter for the closing service of Seeing It Differently at Norwich Cathedral. Photo: Norwich Cathedral/Bill SmithThe Bishop of Lynn speaking from the helter skelter for the closing service of Seeing It Differently at Norwich Cathedral. Photo: Norwich Cathedral/Bill Smith

A service was held at the cathedral on Sunday evening to say farewell to the unusual attraction - which was enjoyed by some 10,000 people over 11 days.

Such was the novelty of the 55ft helter skelter - built in the 1940s and owned by Irvin Leisure - that it drew the attention of the international press, from the BBC's World Service and Sky News to Japanese news broadcasters, The New York Times and travel publisher Lonely Planet.

It was part of the wider Seeing It Differently project at the cathedral, which welcomed many more visitors and also included a Bible box, where people could surround themselves with the word of God, and the chance to take part in a trust trail.

The Bishop of Lynn taking the closing service of Seeing It Differently at Norwich Cathedral. Photo: Norwich Cathedral/Bill SmithThe Bishop of Lynn taking the closing service of Seeing It Differently at Norwich Cathedral. Photo: Norwich Cathedral/Bill Smith

The Bishop of Lynn, the Rt Rev Jonathan Meyrick, delivered a sermon from the structure during Sunday's service - not at the top as planned, but from half-way down the slide.

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In his sermon he spoke of the many aims of the Seeing It Differently project, including the pull of God as a "tourist attraction".

The helter skelter installed in Norwich Cathedral as part of their 'Seeing It Differently' project
. Picture: Sonya DuncanThe helter skelter installed in Norwich Cathedral as part of their 'Seeing It Differently' project . Picture: Sonya Duncan

"Tourism attractions are about bringing people into somewhere so their secrets, their realities, the essence of their lives can be more clearly and fully understood," he said.

"Things go wrong if they become attractions entirely for themselves, but God wants to be attractive to us and he wants us to be attracted to him.

"God wants us to learn to enjoy him, to enjoy ourselves and each other and to enjoy the world around us, and this glorious helter skelter is about just that."

The helter skelter installed in Norwich Cathedral as part of their 'Seeing It Differently' project. 
Pictured is Very Rev Jane Hedges
. Picture: Sonya DuncanThe helter skelter installed in Norwich Cathedral as part of their 'Seeing It Differently' project. Pictured is Very Rev Jane Hedges . Picture: Sonya Duncan

The Rev Canon Andy Bryant, Norwich Cathedral's canon for mission and pastoral care, who came up with the idea for Seeing It Differently, said: "Many will want to focus on the sheer numbers we have been able to welcome into the cathedral and the relaxed, happy and joyous atmosphere.

"However, the things I will most carry away from this time are the individual conversations, people sharing stories of connecting with the cathedral, enjoying seeing the building from a new perspective, finding a welcome distraction at a difficult time in their lives, asking questions about faith and gaining new encouragement in their relationship with God."

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