Leicester Cathedral reveals outline plans for new development

Proposals for the most significant building development of Leicester Cathedral for at least 80 years are being published today and are open for public comment.

A new Heritage Learning Centre, on four levels, two above ground and two below, is planned for one corner of the Cathedral Gardens.  In addition, major repairs and renovations to the main building are scheduled to take place.  The proposals form part of the £11.3m Leicester Cathedral Revealed project, which has secured the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and is currently in its development stage.  They will form the basis of plans to be submitted over the summer to local planners and the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England.

Since the reinterment of Richard III in March 2015, visitor numbers to Leicester’s Cathedral have jumped ten-fold from 20,000 to over 200,000 a year, making it one of the City and County’s major tourist attractions. An independent assessment conducted by the University  of Wolverhampton calculated that the Cathedral currently makes an annual contribution to the local economy of £8.7m. The team calculate that the Leicester Cathedral Revealed project will  significantly increase the figure to £15m a year.

The Dean of Leicester, the Very Revd David Monteith said: “Nowadays we welcome very many visitors to our Cathedral, coming for many reasons, both spiritual and otherwise. We want to give every visitor the proper welcome they deserve, and to be able to tell the stories of our city and our faith in ways which are accessible to as many as possible.”

Pete Hobson, the Cathedral’s Project Director, said: “Our plans are developing well, but there is still a way to travel. Now we would really like to give the public a chance to have their first look and tell us what they think.  We’ll be listening carefully  to every comment.”

The last major building work at the Cathedral took place in the 1930s when some vestries were added to St Martin’s. Everyone is welcome to come and see the display of plans in the Cathedral. They are on view at all times the Cathedral is open for general visiting, between 9am and 6pm daily from Wednesday 6th June for five days.

Cathedral to host ‘Suspended’

Leicester Cathedral is to host Arabella Dorman’s unique artwork Suspended, as well as a series of events, to highlight the experience of refugees.

This startling and internationally-acclaimed artwork will be installed and on show, free of charge between 20 June and 28 August 2018 – from Refugee Week, through the Cathedral’s ‘Conversations’ season until Leicester’s ArtReach-led Journeys Festival International.

Composed of hundreds of items of clothing discarded by refugees upon their arrival on the island of Lesbos, a ‘stilled explosion’ will be created over the Cathedral nave, inviting the viewer to contemplate the violent fragmentation experienced by the inhabitants of the garments. Suspended will be the centrepiece of a unique summer of events, which it hopes will help people grasp the experience of real refugees and promote empathy for those individuals. An interactive wall of clothing and shoes salvaged from Lesbos and Calais will also be in place with an invitation to touch and handle the clothes, and to imagine the lives of the individual men, women and children who have worn them as they risk everything to escape the violence of their homeland.

Suspended, In Search of Light – An Artist’s Journey by Arabella Dorman July 4, 18.30–20.00. Tickets £15. Booking via Eventbrite here.
Arabella Dorman will talk about the journey that led her from Iraq and Afghanistan as an embedded war artist, to her humanitarian work in Lesbos, Palestine, Syria and Lebanon, and the creation of Suspended in Leicester Cathedral today.

The Very Revd David Monteith, Dean of Leicester, said: “I cried when I read about Suspended. This is art that connects us with the biggest movement of displaced peoples on record. These displacements are caused mainly by war, poverty and injustice and so many of them are children. Leicester Cathedral is humbled to host Suspended as we learn what it means to be more compassionate, prayerful and hospitable.”

The artist, Arabella Dorman said: “I recently stood amidst the ruins of Aleppo having travelled to Syria to bear witness. A buried shoe, a lady’s handbag, a child’s toy in the rubble are the only traces of the men, women and children who once lived there, refugees now stuck between a past to which they can never return, and a future to which they cannot move forward.

Suspended seeks to brings these lives to our attention and remind us of the urgent need for compassion, empathy and understanding as we reach out to our fellow human beings in plight. In doing so, it is a call to re-find the common thread that binds the mosaic of life together in celebration of our shared humanity.”

The Revd Canon Karen Rooms, Canon Missioner of Leicester Cathedral, who is managing the project, said: “Suspended vividly expresses both a sense of ‘being at sea’ and exuberance of the human spirit through clothing we might easily recognise as our own.

“In recent years the Church has played a significant role in working alongside people seeking sanctuary in our communities from persecution and violence in other parts of the world and this installation portrays something of the stories we hear. In a city with a strong heritage of welcome I hope Suspended moves us all to celebrate the richness human flow brings and do more to help people move forward.”

A full programme of events, co-ordinated by ArtReach, will include family art sessions, performances, a film screening, theatre arts and creative writing workshops, refugee-led coffee shop conversations, talks, seminars, and volunteer taster sessions. Full details will be listed on the website  in the coming weeks.

Suspended, In Search of Light – An Artist’s Journey by Arabella Dorman July 4, 18.30–20.00. Tickets £15. Booking via Eventbrite here.

The Cathedral’s partners and funders – ArtReach with Arts Council England, De Montfort University, the University of Leicester, Leicester City of Sanctuary and the British Red Cross – are committed to support, promote and celebrate activity that shares refugee experience.

David Hill, Director of ArtReach, said: “ArtReach is thrilled to be working in partnership with Leicester Cathedral to help facilitate installation of the inspiring and powerful Suspended artwork by Arabella Dorman. This is a major work, raising questions and creating empathy with thousands who are forced to flee their countries of origin. We look forward to creating an associated programme of events to further contribute to our Journeys 2018 and Journeys Festival International programmes.”

Pete Hobson, Chair Leicester City of Sanctuary, said: “Leicester City of Sanctuary is delighted to be a partner with the Cathedral in bringing Suspended to our city. This installation speaks powerfully to the experiences that lie behind many of the lives of those we work with, as asylum seekers and refugees.  It offers us all an insight into what it can cost to live a life suspended between a traumatic past and a hoped-for future.”


Dementia Action Week

This year, Dementia Action Week will take place between 21-27 May.

Dementia is an increasingly emergent issue within our society, affecting people everywhere. How may we best respond as communities? What support exists locally for people living with dementia and their carers? How can an individual helpfully get involved?

Whatever your connection with dementia, or whether you just want to know more, we would like to invite you to the events shown below.

Dean’s Discussion: I think therefore I am?
Monday 21 May, 19.00
Leicester Cathedral

Join us to explore our understandings of dementia, personhood and how to respond, drawing on the experience of professionals with direct personal experience. All are welcome – whether you are living with dementia, have some other connection or want to explore the topic in greater depth.

Free, but book via Eventbrite here.

Singing for the Brain
Tuesday 22 May, 14.00 – 16.00
Leicester Cathedral

Brains are good at recalling music and song, even when other memory functions are difficult. Singing for the Brain is a structured approach enabling people living with dementia not only to enjoy themselves and socialise but, quite literally, to find their voice. This event is open to all, but a particular welcome is extended to musicians and others who could see opportunities for development within their communities.

Free, but book via Eventbrite here.

Dementia Friends Training
Thursday 24 May, 10.30 – 12.00 or 14.00 – 15.30
St Martins House

Open to any who wish to learn how to engage positively with people living with Dementia, and therefore to become Dementia Friends within their local community. A good starting point, facilitated by the Alzheimer’s Society.

Free, but book via Eventbrite here.

Held and Loved: Together with God – a life-affirming dementia-friendly service
Sunday 27 May, 15.00
Leicester Cathedral

Like Songs of Praise, with familiar music and prayers and followed by tea and cakes. Open to everyone – particularly welcome are people living with dementia, carers, families and community members.

Booking not required.

Displays, information and advice
Monday 21 May – Friday 25 May
Leicester Cathedral

With an extensive display and supporting materials, the Alzheimer’s Society will be present all week during Cathedral opening hours, ready to answer questions and signpost to resources.

What next – further steps?

Hospitality lies at the heart of the Christian faith. How can we as communities best respond, both in terms of continuing to welcome and involve people with dementia, and also in supporting them and those around them? We can offer localised training, both to enable groups to grow in dementia awareness, but also to move to the next stage where individuals become Dementia Champions and Churches seek Dementia Friendly Church status. For further information please contact the Diocesan Dementia Action Group via emailing Canon Alison Adams.



All events are free. If you have any queries please contact the Cathedral office via the details below.
T: 0116 261 5357    E: leicestercathedral@leccofe.org    W: leicestercathedral.org


The Leicester Peregrines – New Chicks!

People can follow the daily lives of a pair of wild peregrine falcons and their newly hatched chicks in Leicester city centre thanks to the nest box webcam in the Cathedral spire.

The birth of the first chick, from a clutch of four eggs, was confirmed on Sunday 6 May 2018 as occurring at 10.50pm on Saturday 5 May. The second chick hatched at 3.25pm on the seventh.

Come and say “Hello” to the team and watch the Peregrines at our next Watch Day this Wednesday 9 May from 9.30am in St Martin’s Square.

The camera has been fitted into a purpose-built nest at Leicester Cathedral to record the activities and nesting habits of the resident peregrine couple.

A live feed can also be watched online as part the Leicester Peregrine Project website at http://leicesterperegrines.org.uk/streaming/

The project is run by Leicestershire and Rutland Ornithological Society (LROS) and Leicester City Council and aims to promote the presence of peregrines within the city environment and help ensure their conservation.

Peregrine sightings have been recorded in Leicester for the past 30 years, with more regular sightings over the last decade. Nest boxes have been installed across the city, in locations known to be favoured by the peregrines.

The Leicester Cathedral nest box was installed in April 2016. Its location, high on the Cathedral’s 60 metre spire, provides an ideal urban alternative to the high, steep cliffs the falcons use in the wild.

The live feed has shown the pair of peregrines – a female and a male – visiting the nest box regularly over the past fortnight.

Richard Kelly, nature conservation officer at Leicester City Council, said: “Leicester Cathedral is proving to be a perfect nesting location for the city’s peregrines.

“The webcam provides a bird’s eye view of the daily activities from inside the nest box. It’s provided a really interesting new way to observe this beautiful bird.

“There’s a really good chance that visitors to the webpage will see the female peregrine. She’s been braving the chilly winds and putting in regular stints on the ledge of the nest box, often preening for hours at a time.”

Jim Graham, president of the Leicestershire and Rutland Ornithological Society, said: “This is a really exciting development in the Leicester Peregrine Project. People from across the world will now be able to share the daily story of these birds.

“It also provides us with the opportunity to study the birds’ behaviour, improve our knowledge and understanding of how they live and help ensure their conservation.”

The Revd Canon Alison Adams, Canon Pastor and Sub-Dean of Leicester Cathedral, said: “We are delighted that the peregrines continue to flourish and hope very much that this year they might produce offspring and the webcam will enable everyone to enjoy seeing fledglings growing.

“It is especially interesting that the words peregrine and pilgrim come from the same root word – the Latin ‘peregrinus’, meaning foreigner. As a place of pilgrimage and of welcome for all in our community, including refugees and asylum seekers, the Cathedral is a most poignant home for the peregrines.”

Regular ‘peregrine watch’ events are held in Cathedral Gardens as part of the project. Members of the public are welcome to attend.

To find about more about the Leicester Peregrine Project, visit www.leicesterperegrines.org.uk or follow the Twitter feed at twitter.com/leicsperegrines

Bishop and Dean of Leicester welcome the new Lord-Lieutenant

Her Majesty The Queen has appointed Mr Michael Kapur OBE as the new Lord-Lieutenant for Leicestershire. He will succeed Lady Gretton when she retires on 14 June.

The Bishop and Dean of Leicester have both welcomed the appointment of Mr Kapur, who is a leading businessman, currently serving as a Deputy Lieutenant. He has dedicated many years to championing local interests.

As the new Lord-Lieutenant he will be The Queen’s representative in Leicester and Leicestershire, fulfilling a range of civic and ceremonial duties which bring together voluntary services, business and cultural life.

The 55-year-old lives in Oadby with his wife Rita and they have four children. He graduated from Leicester Polytechnic before becoming a Chartered Accountant.

He plays a hugely active role locally, as Chairman of the National Space Centre and Leicester City Football Club Trust – the charity which delivers the club’s commitment to its communities. He also has regional and national trustee roles in the education and community sectors.

Bishop of Leicester, Martyn Snow said: “I warmly welcome Mike Kapur’s appointment as Lord-Lieutenant for Leicestershire. As a Deputy Lieutenant and as someone who has lived and worked in Leicestershire for many years, he knows the area well and is well placed to help our diverse communities flourish. I look forward to working with him in the coming years.”

David Monteith, Dean of Leicester said: “We are very pleased that Mike Kapur is to be our new Lord-Lieutenant. Mike’s entrepreneurial track record will support the further development of the Lieutenancy as the common good flourishes in our city and county.  He can be assured of our prayers and support.”

Leicester Cathedral will host a Farewell Service for Lady Gretton as Lord-Lieutenant, on Sunday 3 June at 3pm when the preacher will be former Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Tim Stevens.

Lent and Easter 2018

We can’t be ourselves without thinking about our bodies. Age, health, illness, race, sexuality and spirituality all shape how we think about our bodies and the meanings we assign them. The cult of perfect bodies exercises power on our imagination as the body beautiful is exalted in our culture. This impacts positively and negatively and it affects both men and women, boys and girls.

We will focus on this theme  from Ash Wednesday (14 Feb) to Ascension Day (10 May). In Lent and Easter the church retells how a broken body on the Cross becomes a hopeful sign of blessing when transformed by God. Christians have often connected their own physical suffering with the suffering of Jesus. St Thomas sees in the wounds of Jesus how all things might have meaning and be transformed. Christians now take bread and break it, take wine and pour it and through that affirm that we are part of the body of Christ which is both broken yet blessed.

We hope that by exploring more of our physical reality in the light of faith, we will discover not only vulnerability but blessing which is rich because it very often is borne through finite weakness.

The Very Revd David Monteith, Dean of Leicester  

Below you will find details of services and events throughout the season.

More information on the Iain McKillop Exhibition can be found here. Details on this year’s Lent Course: Broken, can be found here. For more information on the Museum of the Moon Exhibition, click here.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Cathedral Office via 0116 261 5357 or by email.

Thursday 10 May

17.30  Ascension Day Eucharist
Preacher: The Dean

Below you can see a short video of reflection on the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ using the Bodies Broken and Blessed Exhibition currently shown in the Cathedral.

Below you can see the Lent and Easter Booklet (use the panel to navigate the pages).

Lent and Easter Booklet 2018

Free Exhibition: Art for Lent and Easter

Leicester Cathedral’s Lent and Easter theme of Bodies Broken and Blessed will include an exhibition of striking scenes depicting Jesus’s crucifixion by a nationally-acclaimed artist.

Anglican priest Ian McKillop is also an artist and art historian. His altarpiece art works hang in several English Cathedrals and his exhibitions regularly tour churches and Cathedrals and one arrives in Leicester next week.

McKillop’s Seven Last Words will be hung in the Cathedral. The seven paintings depict Jesus’s agony on the cross and will face in towards the tomb of Richard III. The Seven New Songs of the Resurrection will face into the Chapel of Christ the Kind in the Cathedral, where the stained glass window shows a risen and ascended Christ in glory.

They were created after the artist visited Wurzburg which was bombed in 1945. They are a tribute to the art works that survived and stand as a memorial to all the lives lost as a result of war, hoping to inspire a new way, following the loving, self-sacrificing and non-recriminatory, peace-bringing example of Christ. In addition, his work The Stations of the Cross will be displayed in the Cathedral’s north aisle.

Ian McKillop’s Lent and Easter Exhibition runs from 15 February to 19 April.

The Dean of Leicester Cathedral, the Very Revd David Monteith, explained more about the theme of Bodies Broken and Blessed: “We can’t be ourselves without thinking about our bodies. Age, health, illness, race, sexuality and spirituality all shape how we think about our bodies and the meanings we assign them. The cult of perfect bodies exercises power on our imagination as the body beautiful is exalted in our culture.  This impacts positively and negatively and it affects both men and women, boys and girls.

“We will focus on this theme  from Ash Wednesday (14 Feb) to Ascension Day (10 May). In Lent and Easter the church retells how a broken body on the Cross becomes a hopeful sign of blessing when transformed by God. Christians have often connected their own physical suffering with the suffering of Jesus.

“St Thomas sees in the wounds of Jesus how all things might have meaning and be transformed. Christians now take bread and break it, take wine and pour it and through that affirm that we are part of the body of Christ which is both broken yet blessed.

“We hope that by exploring more of our physical reality in the light of faith, we will discover not only vulnerability but blessing which is rich because it very often is borne through finite weakness.”

There will be a series of concerts, meditations and services throughout Lent and Easter at the Cathedral. You can find out more by clicking here, or by picking up a booklet from the Cathedral.


Lent Course: Broken

This year’s Lent Course will link in to the seasonal theme of Bodies Broken and Blessed.

We will reflect upon the TV series Broken, starring Sean Bean. Set on an estate parish, it features a Roman Catholic priest who, despite trauma and anxiety about his own inadequacies, attempts to bring the Light of Christ into the lives of his parishioners.

We will watch an episode each week and discuss questions prepared by Canon Dr Paula Gooder, Director of Mission, Learning & Development in Birmingham Diocese. Each session will be led by a member of the Cathedral Clergy.

WARNING: The series contains disturbing story lines such as death, suicide, abuse and violence.

This course is only open to those aged 16 and above and it will only be suitable for those willing to engage with this material.

The course will take place on Mondays in Lent:
19, 26 Feb, 5, 12, 19, 26 March;  7.00–9.00pm

The Kempe Room, St Martins House
£2.00 suggested donation/person/session

If you have any questions, please contact the Cathedral Office via 0116 261 5357 or email.



The Museum of the Moon

Between 9-18 March 2018, an art installation of a 7m diameter model of the Moon by Luke Jerram is placed in the Cathedral, as part of a joint project led by the University of Leicester to mark British Science Week 2018. Space will be made available for personal reflection and prayer, and there will also be special activities for children and young people during normal visiting hours.

Below you will find details of events during the week of the installation. If you have any questions, please contact the Cathedral Office via 0116 261 5357. Unless otherwise stated, visiting the exhibition will not require tickets, and entry to the Cathedral is free (a £3 donation is recommended).

Friday 9 March

Moon and Planetarium Schools Events with Dr Suzie Imber, 09.45–12.30

Schools and Public Visiting, 13.45–17.00

Launch Event (tickets available via Eventbrite here), 18.30

Saturday 10 March

Moon and Planetarium Family and Public Visiting, 10.00–16.00

Late opening (Moon only), 18.15–19.45

Sunday 11 March

Public Visiting (Moon only), 12.30–14.30

Monday 12 March

Moon and Planetarium Schools Events and Public Visiting, 09.45–17.00

‘Worship the Lord of Heaven and Earth’ Service, 17.30

Rite of the Waning Moon, 20.00–21.00

From Tuesday, the Planetarium for Schools is removed

Tuesday 13 March

Public Visiting (please note the Cathedral Organ will be tuned throughout the day), 10.00–12.30 / 15.15–17.00

Wednesday 14 March

Public Visiting, 10.00–12.30 / 13.45–17.00

Dean’s Discussion: Faith in Science? (free tickets available via Eventbrite here), 19.00

Thursday 15 March

Public Visiting, 10.00–12.30 / 13.45–17.00 / 18.00–20.00

‘Drumming for the Moon’ by Cassia Tree, 20.00–21.00

Friday 16 March

Public Visiting, 10.00–12.30 / 13.45–17.00

London Concertante: Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos by Moonlight (tickets here), 19.30

Saturday 17 March

Public Visiting, 10.00–17.00

Sunday 18 March

Public Visiting, 12.30–14.30


Defibrillator for Cathedral Gardens

On Monday 19 February the Bishop of Leicester and the Dean of Leicester unveiled a Public Access Defibrillator (PAD) at St Martins House, adjacent to the Cathedral. The defibrillator has been given on long term loan by the national charity, the Community Heartbeat Trust.

Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Martyn Snow said: ”We are very glad to be able to host this life-saving equipment for the surrounding community as it will be available for members of the public and tourists visiting the Cathedral, St Martins House Conference Centre and Lodge, the new accommodation that will open later this year, as well as for the other venues, shops and businesses surrounding the Cathedral Gardens and St Martins area of Leicester.

Nick Quinn, Director of St Martins House, says “We are incredibly grateful to the Community Heartbeat Trust for their provision of a defibrillator to St Martins House and Cathedral Gardens. Visitors to Cathedral Gardens have increased in recent years making it a vibrant and flourishing part of the city centre. We are proud to be able to offer to raise the annual donation to maintain the device and ensure this vital lifesaving equipment is available to all in need.”

The device has been installed on the outside of St Martins House within easy access of visitors to St Martins House Conference Centre, Leicester Cathedral, the Richard III Visitor Centre and The Guildhall.

The incident of Sudden Cardiac Arrest in the UK is about 1 in every 1000 people per annum, meaning there are around 60,000 per year. This can happen at any age or sex, and time to treat the patient is critical, with the patient dying at about 20% per minute.

“By placing defibrillators into communities and by undertaking training schemes in the locality we will save lives” says Martin Fagan, National Secretary for CHT. “We are delighted to have helped St Martins House and Cathedral Gardens surrounding area, including the world famous Richard III Visitor Centre.

The Community Heartbeat Trust is the leading charity in the provision of community defibrillators. To date CHT have placed over 4000 sites in the UK and actively supports churches, homeless centres and areas of need as well as over 400 village sites in Leicestershire and Rutland. CHT will only use equipment that is suitable for community and supports communities for the long term through training, governance and sustainability programmes.