CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Surrey Life today CLICK HERE

The campaign to save Guildford Cathedral - Make your mark

PUBLISHED: 07:32 07 November 2014 | UPDATED: 09:08 07 November 2014

Dame Penelope Keith (Photo: Andy Newbold)

Dame Penelope Keith (Photo: Andy Newbold)


Surrey residents have been busy ‘making their mark’ in recent months as part of the campaign to secure the future of Guildford Cathedral. Here we meet a few of the supporters to find out what this iconic building means to them

The celebrity patron...

After the construction of Guildford Cathedral was interrupted by World War Two, completion was only made possible when more than 200,000 people ‘bought a brick’.

Among them was the actress Dame Penelope Keith, who now lives locally in Milford and is a vice president of the cathedral’s latest appeal, Make Your Mark, to raise money for vital repairs.

“I drove down from London with a friend in the late Sixties and bought a brick for half a crown, ” says Penelope. “It was terribly exciting to have this wonderful new building after the war because there was so little around then. And now we’re appealing to a new generation to make their mark.

“Everyone is working hard to reach the target. The Dean, the Very Reverend Dianna Gwilliams, has even done a sponsored abseil down the spire – though I would have paid her not to do it!”


The Bishop...

Bishop Ian Brackley completed a 30-mile sponsored walk across the Pilgrims’ Way, raising over £2,700 for the Make Your Mark appeal.

“The high points were literally the high points, as we saw parts of Surrey you can only see by doing these routes,” he says of the gruelling walk, which took him three days to complete.

“It’s not about sponsoring me though; it’s about recognising that the cathedral is a place worth supporting.

“Sitting on the hill, it was quite a statement really, building Guildford Cathedral where it now stands. I think it’s saying something about the nature of what it means to be a Christian – to be a member of the Church of England in this part of the world.

“This is the Diocese of Guildford and this is its main church, and it needs support and care, so let’s support it and care for it.”


The voluntary guide...

Original brick-giver and Guildford resident, Frances Dawson, has been a voluntary guide welcoming guests to Guildford Cathedral for many years. She is also a keen fund-raiser and has raised funds for the Make Your Mark appeal by organising a teddies’ birthday fund-raising event.

Frances, who remembers the cathedral being built, says: “If friends visited, we took them to see the building work that was going on. I have fond memories of those trips. My friends and I were very interested to see all the activity; it was great to see the interest in the building being awoken.

“I remember a little green hut, which served refreshments, and people had a chance to ask questions about the cathedral and make donations.

“I think the completion of this great new cathedral gave people hope in a time when many had suffered great loss during and after the war.”


The young supporters...

Having joined the boys’ choir of Guildford Cathedral when he was seven, James Perkins has sung at about 900 services – with highlights being a visit from the Queen, tours to the Netherlands and USA and a live Radio 3 broadcast earlier this year.

“The cathedral is a really big part of my life,” says James. “I want it to be there for hundreds of years to come, like Durham or Winchester, so I am doing everything I can to support the appeal. For my confirmation, I asked my parents and godparents to give money for a ‘virtual brick’, instead of buying me a present. It will always be a reminder for me of the place that made me musical.”

Life as a chorister has had a big impact on James’s family too. His sister, Catherine, made her mark by writing a poem about how the cathedral appeals to all the senses – and to the soul.

“We are often here because of James – even on Christmas Day!” says Catherine. “So I’ve had a lot of time to think about what the cathedral means to me. It’s a meeting place and lots of people work here too (including me if I have homework to do while waiting for my brother). It would be terrible if the cathedral had to close.

“Many visitors are proud of the fact that they bought a brick to help build Guildford Cathedral. I hope I will be able to tell my children and grandchildren about how my poem helped to keep it alive.”




The musicians...

The Cadenza Youth Choir and the Surrey Advanced Brass Ensemble (SABE) raised more than £1,500 for the Make Your Mark appeal last Christmas by giving a concert in the cathedral.

“I spent six years as a chorister of Guildford Cathedral from the age of seven and received a musical education that was second to none,” says Tim Peters, the director of Cadenza and a member of SABE. “The experience has shaped my life and given me numerous skills and opportunities.

“Both of these groups, the Cadenza Youth Choir and SABE, are made up entirely of teenagers and it was thrilling for us to be able to have the space to perform together and give a concert in such magnificent surroundings.”


Get in touch:

Let us know what Guildford Cathedral means to you by writing to the usual addresses. 

Share your photos of this spectacular building @



Need to know...

The Make Your Mark appeal is a major campaign to help raise funds for essential repairs to Guildford Cathedral. To get involved, see, contact the appeal office on 01483 547884 or send a cheque (payable to Guildford Cathedral) to Guildford Cathedral, Stag Hill, Guildford GU2 7UP.

More from Surrey Life

Thu, 10:52

Surrey is full of secret hideaways and hidden gems. Slades Farm on the Wintershall Estate is definitely one of them

Read more
Wed, 16:05

The new hotel is set to open in spring 2019 and will be located in the heart of the vineyard, offering sweeping views over the North Downs Way.

Read more
Tue, 10:53

From Santa’s Grottos, to Victorian Christmas markets and late-night shopping, we’ve covered what’s on in Surrey this season

Read more
Tue, 10:47

Whether you're looking for fine dining, pub grub or exotic dishes, eating out in Surrey has something for everyone. Here's our guide to the best local restaurants and pubs

Read more
Tue, 10:41

Having bloomed in Brighton’s restaurant scene over the past decade, The Chilli Pickle opened its second site in Guildford this summer

Read more
Mon, 14:32

Historic Royal Palaces and IMG have announced that Kylie Minogue is the first headliner confirmed for Hampton Court Palace Festival 2019. These will be her only London shows of summer 2019. Here’s how you can get tickets

Read more
Mon, 12:56

Enjoy this linear rail to ramble section of the Thames Down Link route taking the short train-ride from Box Hill & Westhumble to Ashtead before walking back

Read more
Mon, 12:13

Great things to do in Surrey this weekend (16, 17 and 18 November): art exhibitions, walks, concerts, theatre, places to visit and other events and ideas.

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

It’s that time of year when our beautiful countryside is alight with the colours of autumn. Here, we pick out some of her favourite spots to enjoy the seasonal splendour – as well as some perfect places for a post-walk refresher

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Found on the stretch of the River Thames between Weybridge and East Molesey, Sunbury-on-Thames is blessed with a village feel where it meets the water. From antique hunts to the joys of river life, here are a few of our favourite reasons to visit

Read more
Monday, November 5, 2018

Verity & Violet are Loui and Jess – a singing duo from Surrey who specialise in blending vintage classics with modern favourites. The two have achieved success in the capital, but are now hoping to attract an audience closer to home

Read more
Friday, November 2, 2018

With the Christmas celebrations seemingly starting earlier every year, it all feels a little too ‘soon’ sometimes, but what if you want to look your best for Christmas & New year celebrations and are considering having cosmetic non-surgical procedures? The Bella Vou Pantiles Clinic offers surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures and treatments from a purpose-built private clinic in the heart of Royal Tunbridge Wells

Read more
Thursday, November 1, 2018

Living in England’s most densely wooded county, it’s always a pleasure to witness Surrey donning its autumn finery. Here’s some of the best places to do just that - plus a few pub pit stops to enjoy on route!

Read more
Wednesday, October 31, 2018

We are regularly reminded of the high cost of housing with statistics revealing that only one in three millennials will be able to afford their own home during their lifetime and that most will remain in the category known as Generation Rent

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search