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9th November 2018

Prestigious cultural award for Lancashire's Anglican Cathedral

Blackburn Cathedral has been named Lancashire’s Cultural Venue of 2018 in the county tourism awards.

More than 500 people were at the Marketing Lancashire awards ceremony, in the Imperial Banqueting Suite in Preston, on Wednesday November 7. The award was accepted by the Dean of Blackburn, The Very Rev Peter Howell-Jones and the Executive Director, Sharon Grayston.

The Cathedral caught the judges’ eye thanks to its hard work in providing a venue that appeals to a wide variety of community and visiting groups as well as individuals; all of whom hail from all points of the compass.

The citation that accompanied the award mentioned the Cathedral team’s strong commitment to volunteering, its ability to provide a warm welcome to all visitors, the diversity of the events that took place in the building, and the professionalism of the service provision.

The Dean said today: “The judges also said that the Cathedral had clearly become a catalyst for the transformation of Blackburn town centre, which we found particularly satisfying.”

The judging process was rigorous: after a substantial session of form filling, the Cathedral team of the Dean, Executive Director Sharon Grayston, and Canon Rowena Pailing, were grilled by a panel of four judges, who then paid an unannounced visit to the Cathedral to see if the claims made were bona-fide!

It was as a result of that visit that the Cathedral was declared the winner in its category.

Said the Dean: “We were the only visible Christian organization in a room full of more than 500 people, representing more than 100 organisations.

“Cathedrals are both tourist and cultural venues, and here was an opportunity to explain what we do and how we do it. The judges clearly liked what they heard and saw when they visited us!”

Meanwhile the Diocese was up for another award on the same evening at the Chartered Institute of Public Relations North West PRide Awards. The Bishop of Burnley, Rt Rev Philip North, led a pilgrimage of 40 people from the Diocese to Israel in November 2017.

The pilgrimage was amplified to more than 10,000 extra people on YouTube via daily ‘vlogs’ of Bishop Philip talking about their experiences; filmed by fellow pilgrim Rev Alice Whalley and sent back to the UK.

The Virtual Pilgrimage initiative was conceived by Diocesan Communications Manager, Ronnie Semley and was shortlisted alongside campaigns by very large PR agencies such as Weber Shandwick in the ‘Best Not For Profit Campaign’ category. At the ceremony on Wednesday the Diocese lost out to a charity PR initiative conceived by Rule 5 and


Story written by Mark Ashley