Behind the Scenes
Salisbury Cathedral is host to over 1100 regular services, 200 special services and many hundreds of events and concerts each year. As the sixth most visited Cathedral in England we welcome over 500,000 visitors annually to the Cathedral and Cathedral Close. We are 20 years through a major repair programme that will take another 8-10 years to complete. To ensure that all these activities can continue alongside each other is a major feat of organisation.
But behind these very public activities there are a host of "unsung" heroes who beaver away quietly and without whom the Cathedral could not operate.
The Vestry team - vergers and caretakersEvery service needs preparation, whether it is attended by a smaller congregation at the 7.30am Communion or 1800 worshippers for the Advent Services. There are many tasks to do including moving chairs, putting out of bread and wine. The vergers' day will start at 6.30am as one of the team opens up the Cathedral. It won't be finished until at least 6.30pm (more like 7.30pm in the summer) when one of his colleagues locks up at the end of the day.
The "Holy Dusters"This dedicated band of volunteers work alongside the caretakers and vergers to ensure that the Cathedral looks as clean and tidy as possible. There are many jobs to do including dusting the tombs and choir stalls.
Volunteer Guides and ChaplainsOver 420 volunteers help to provide a warm and informed welcome to day visitors to the Cathedral. Some specialise in taking visitors around the floor areas, others up into the roof spaces and tower, whilst others share their enthusiasm for the Chapter House and Magna Carta or are simply available to talk with visitors and say the hourly prayers. Whatever, your interest we can almost guarantee there'll be at least one of our volunteers who shares it!
The organ scholar
In addition to the Assistant Director of Music (Organist), each year the Cathedral takes on an organ scholar. This year our scholar is Andrej Kouznetsov. Andrej hails from Sydney where he held the Sydney University Organ Scholarship for two years and won prizes in numerous competitions, including first place in the Open Section of the Sydney Organ Competition in 2008. He can be heard practising sometimes early in the morning or towards the end of the day, preparing to play at Evensong, or perhaps learning a new piece in preparation for his recital during the summer.
The pastry chefSally is usually in by 7am, sleeves rolled up mixing, preparing and cooking more of her delicious cakes and pastries to tempt you to the Refectory Restaurant later that day. It's a never ending task, for it seems as quickly as she bakes, so they disappear into hungry stomachs.
The masons and glaziersTucked away out of sight or high up on a scaffold our skilled team of glaziers and masons are hard at work conserving the glass and stone for future generations. They add their experience to that of the craftsmen who have gone before, each conscious that in some small way they are leaving their mark on this magnificent building.