Friends of Belfast Cathedral
The organisation, now described as The Friends of Belfast Cathedral, is older than the cathedral itself. This does not, of course, describe present members. It was established on 2nd November 1896 as The Belfast Cathedral Guild, this being agreed at a public meeting in Clarence Place Hall, Belfast. Its aim then was to spread throughout Ireland, and especially throughout the parishes of the United Dioceses of Down and Connor and Dromore, an interest in building Belfast Cathedral. Many members of the ecclesiastical hierarchy and of the aristocracy throughout Ireland subscribed to this aim. This was achieved with the Consecration of the Nave on 2nd June 1904, and the Evensong of that date recognises the role of the Friends in the life of the Cathedral.
At some time prior to 31st December 1948 the Belfast Cathedral Guild evolved into The Friends of Belfast Cathedral. On 15th October 1981 the then Honorary Treasurer, Sir Robin Kinahan, in consultation with the Inland Revenue Charities, completed an agreement on charitable status.
The objects of the Friends are:
- to raise funds in order to make grants to the Dean and Board for the preservation of the fabric of the cathedral, its activities and services,
- to assist the Dean and Board and for members to have a personal share in promoting public interest in the cathedral, its history and its work.
The Friends can be considered an integral part of the cathedral community with a varied membership. Over its long existence it has raised considerable funds to support major projects such as development of the building, South and North Transepts, moving and rebuilding the organ, restoration work on the roof, and many others works too numerous to mention. There have been smaller projects too such as the Columbarium. The Friends did hold active fund raising events but these are dormant at present. They were very sociable gatherings which achieved much, in spite of a few headaches!
Recently the Friends have contributed to the Titanic Memorial Pall and new choir robes for the girls’ choir.
There is a social side as well with two half day pilgrimages each year to local places of interest.
The committee is presently planning for the future of the organisation. We seriously need to increase our member numbers so that we may give greater support to the Cathedral. Perhaps a start would be if each member recruited another member. Becoming a Friend is about joining a community, making friends of similar interest with a commitment to working for an important institute serving the city of Belfast and the wider community. Then, we need to look at different ways of fundraising which will preserve this great building.
JOAN THOMPSON, Honorary Secretary
(028) 9332 9102
We hope you will support the Cathedral by joining us. Our leaflet follows and you may click here to download the application form. Or simply contact the Hon Secretary as below.
Secretary: Joan Thompson (028) 9332 9102