York Minster transformed for Northern Lights to raise funds for glass conservation

York Minster’s cavernous Nave will be transformed this week in
preparation for Northern Lights – a special weekend of events to
raise funds for the cathedral’s glass preservation project.

The weekend starts on Friday 15th June with a gala fundraising dinner
for 700 guests organised by the York Minster Fund, the first on this
scale since the Diamond Jubilee Rose Dinner in 2012.

Then on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th June, the cathedral will open its
doors after hours for two public events where visitors will be able to
see a new sound and light projection designed by artists Ross Ashton and
Karen Monid, taking inspiration from the cathedral’s stained glass and

The events have been organised to raise funds to support the 20 year
project to extend state-of-the-art external glazing to all 128 of the
Minster’s mostly medieval stained glass windows, around 60% of which
currently have no protection from the elements.

Work began on Monday (11 June) when approximately 1400 chairs were
removed from the cathedral’s Nave to allow preparations to begin for
the dinner. During the week work will include installing equipment for
the sound and light projection, erecting catering marquees and the
delivery and laying of 70 tables for the dinner.

The headline sponsor for the event is Langleys Solicitors, principal
sponsor Yorkshire Wolds Cookery School and major sponsor UBS. A range
of items have also been donated for the fundraising dinner including a
specially designed sapphire and diamond Yorkshire Rose necklace by Ogden
Harrogate, champagne by Joseph Perrier, courtesy of Field and Fawcett,
and fillet steak by Dovecote Park.

The stained-glass window that was expertly created by the York Glaziers
Trust for the 2016 Welcome to Yorkshire Chelsea Flower Show Garden has
also been gifted as an auction prize by the tourism body.

Neil Sanderson, Director of the York Minster Fund, said: “We’re
hugely excited to see the Nave being transformed for this weekend’s
fundraising events. York Minster has a very special collection of
stained glass. Its windows hold one of the world’s most important
collections of medieval glass with the earliest pieces dating back to

“Currently, over 70 of these irreplaceable windows have no protection
from the elements, leaving them exposed to damage and decay. The funds
raised from these events will directly support our work to provide
protection to this glass, buying much needed time for conservation work,
and we’re therefore hugely grateful to all our sponsors and to
everyone who plans to visit and support us over the weekend.”

To kick start the fundraising programme, the York Minster Fund (YMF) is
being supported by an endowment grant of up to £1m from the Heritage
Lottery Fund (HLF). This means that for the first £1m raised over the
next three years, every £1 given by the public will be matched by YMF
and then by the HLF. So for every £1 donated by the public, at least
£4 will be added to the conservation project pot.

Tickets for the events on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th June cost £5
and can be purchased through the Minster’s website at
www.yorkminster.org. Doors open at 8pm, when visitors can experience
the cathedral at dusk, with its Nave cleared of chairs and filled with
music from its Grand Organ, before the sound and light projection is
shown at 9.30pm. Last admission is at 9pm and the event will finish at
approximately 10pm.

Each £5 ticket will directly contribute £20 to the stained glass
conservation project, thanks to match funding from the York Minster Fund
and the Heritage Lottery Fund.