A tree planting ceremony in celebration of the 90th anniversary of the Friends of York Minster was held on Wednesday 12 December. A new cherry tree was planted beside the Queen’s Path at York Minster by Graeme Robertson, the charity’s chairman.
The Friends of York Minster was set up by Lionel George Bridges Justice Ford, Dean of York from 1928 until 1932. Writing in 1928, Dean Ford said that he wanted to form, “a fellowship of Friends, linked one to another by a common enthusiasm for our holy and beautiful house of God. He added: “…funds are indeed necessary to secure the Minster fabric …. but the existence of a body of Friends, who will care for our beautiful Minster as a sacred inheritance and a national possession, should prove an inestimable benefit to the life of the Minster itself.”
Meg Shorland-Ball, Honorary Secretary of the Friends of York Minster said:
“The Friends continue to uphold Dean Ford’s aims and aspirations. Today we have over 2,000 members who get involved in a busy programme of outings, lectures, social events and holidays. We send out regular newsletters and we produce an Annual report. The organising is done by one part-time member of staff and a team of volunteers who love the building and being involved with like-minded people. The organisation would not run without these dedicated volunteers.”
The charity has funded a wide range of projects at the Minster this year including a grant of £205,000 for the conservation of the Penitencer’s Window – one of three 14th century windows in the Minster’s North Nave aisle. The Friends also directed funds left in a bequest to pay for the installation of special blinds in the Upper Hall of the Old Palace library.
The blinds will protect the hundreds of old and fragile books in the library’s collection by cutting out the highly damaging UV rays from sunlight. The Friends have also funded smaller projects including providing underlay for Minster carpets, two lights for outside the South Door and handrails down to the East Crypt.