Prince Edward welcomed to Norwich Cathedral to mark £2.5m music appeal milestone
PUBLISHED: 12:28 10 May 2019 | UPDATED: 12:49 10 May 2019
© Nick Butcher Photography 2019
A royal visitor joined choristers and worshippers at Norwich Cathedral to mark a fundraising milestone in a £2.5m appeal to support its musical heritage.
Prince Edward joined the congregation for an Evensong service at the cathedral on Thursday, May 9.
The They Shall Laugh and Sing Music Appeal is seeking to raise £1.8m to fund the first rebuilding of the cathedral's 19th century organ in 75 years, as well as £700,000 for the cathedral's choir.
The Earl of Wessex, who is the patron of the appeal, was also treated to a special performance of the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah, sung by the cathedral's choir for supporters of the campaign.
And during the royal visit, the Dean of Norwich revealed the campaign had reached a total of £1.7m towards its goal to date.
The Earl also met choristers and attended a reception in the nave, where the Dean, the Very Reverend Jane Hedges, thanked him for his support, and paid tribute to everyone who has contributed so far.
"Music plays a central part in the life, ministry and mission of the cathedral," she said.
"So often as people leave a service it is the music that they comment on most.
"It lifts people's spirits and touches people at so many levels."
She added: "Like all things that are worthwhile, producing music to such a high standard is expensive.
"So 18 months ago we launched our appeal outlining the challenges which lay ahead of us.
"At the time of the launch I said that raising £2.5m felt like a huge mountain to climb, but that if we worked together we could do this.
"I'm delighted to say we are making good and steady progress and have raised £1,708,929.28.
"We still have a way to go, but we are further up the mountain than we expected to be at this stage and we have every confidence that we will reach the target for putting down the deposit for the organ by the autumn of this year."
The £700,000 raised in the second part of the appeal will be spent educating male choristers and offering extra music lessons to female choristers.
Following the reception, Prince Edward was the guest of honour at a fundraising dinner.
To donate to the appeal, visit www.cathedral.org.uk/music-appeal or email chaptersteward @cathedral.org.uk.