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The Dean’s Weekly Message – Sunday 15 July 2018 Posted on Sunday 15 July 2018

25 years….. and counting
Just over 25 years ago I was called to an interview in Cathedral House which was conducted by the then Administrator, Mgr Peter Cookson, Sr Anthony Wilson and Terry Duffy. I don’t recall much of what was said during the interview but I do remember that I had really burnt my legs in the sun the day before! To my utter surprise – and delight – I was offered the job as Administrator’s Assistant. So this week, 25 years later, and once again with sunburnt legs! – I celebrate 25 years working at the Met. What a privilege, honour and joy it has been. I was asked at our recent Staff Meeting what had been the highlights of those years, and that is such a hard question as there is really too many to mention. You will have to read my book when it is published about life behind the scenes!! Sure to be a best-seller! Reflecting on it all I don’t think it’s very fashionable to stay in a job these days for so long. None of my friends are even in the same career they started with, let alone the same job. If my original plan of staying for 6 months had worked out I would be enjoying a full pension by now! However, I have had the most wonderful time at the Cathedral, and I give thanks to the many people who have crossed my path; to all the people I have worked alongside over the years, and also to the friends I have made along the way. I still feel a sense of wonder when I come into the Cathedral and the Crypt and how many can say that about their job? I still feel as passionate – possibly more passionate now actually – than I did all those years ago so why would I want to move on? Maybe I have just been lucky? I am not sure. What I am sure about though is whilst I still feel inspired and happy about coming to work, and whilst I still get that satisfaction when a Service or event goes well, and whilst you will still have me I shall look forward to the next 25 years!

This week though we move to one of my favourite times of the year in the Cathedral – graduation week. The Cathedral looks beautiful when it is full anyway, but when it is full of young people and their proud families it is spectacular. We are hosting the graduation ceremonies for Liverpool Hope University on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday next week which means that we will close the Cathedral at 1.00pm to visitors but the Crypt will still be open for people to visit if they wish.

Due to the degree receptions in the Crypt – this year we are hosting students from Psychology, Environmental Science and Life Science faculties from Liverpool University – the 12.15pm Mass will take place in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. Apologies to our regular Mass goers.

Just recently we were ‘mystery shopped’ by an Inspector from Visit England. The aim of the assessment that we have is to add quality to the visitor experience without taking away the character, style or uniqueness of the Cathedral. The Inspectors will look at the welcome that we give; the presentation of the Cathedral; how we tell our story; our catering and retail outlet and finally our staff efficiency and customer care knowledge. There are always things that we can improve on and it’s good to get an experienced outsider in to suggest ways in which we can improve. Overall our report was excellent and something for all our staff, Guides and volunteers to be proud of. The report stated that the Cathedal ‘is an exceptional attraction and a huge asset to the cultural and architectural offer in Liverpool and the North West.’ Who would not want to give 25 years unbroken service to such a special place?

Claire Hanlon 
Executive Assistant to the Dean