Countess of Wessex at Mercers' Hall Reception
left to right: Johnny Robertson (Master Mercer) Philip Hesketh (Dean of Rochester) HRH The Countess of Wessex, Mike Aiken (Rochester Cathedral Trust Chairman)
On Tuesday 22nd February the Dean of Rochester, The Very Revd Dr Philip Hesketh, and the Chairman of Rochester Cathedral Trust, Mr Michael P Aiken MBE, welcomed their Royal Patron, Her Royal Highness the Countess of Wessex GCVO to a Reception which was hosted with the generous support of the Mercers’ Company at their Hall in Ironmonger Lane, London.
The reception was part of an ongoing series of fund raising events being held by The Cathedral Trust to develop new relationships with potential donors based in London.
The Cathedral’s new “Children’s Community Choir” was there to entertain the Countess and the guests and charmed everyone with their delightful singing. They were conducted by Claire Innes-Hopkins and accompanied by Cathedral Director of Music, Mr Scott Farrell. This new Choir is part of the Cathedral's outreach work to give the opportunity to any child in Medway who loves to sing to be able to join the Choir.
The guests were also entertained with a speech from Vice Patron, Dr David Starkey CBE, who amused all with his historical anecdotes yet still conveyed the need of Rochester Cathedral to those present.
Rochester Cathedral Trust is setting up a Music Endowment Fund so that the earnings accrued from it can ultimately pay the running costs of the ancient music tradition in the Cathedral, which costs £225,000 annually. The short term goal is to achieve an amount of £2 million which will be met by having each Chorister sponsored at £50,000 each. This money would be deposited in the Endowment Fund and the earnings accrued on it would be put towards the annual costs and the Endowment could remain intact in perpetuity. Each Choristership sponsor has a silver medal struck in their name the selected Chorister wears it at all services for the course of their life in the Choir. When they leave a new probationer is selected.
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