December 27, 2013 8.47 am This story is over 125 months old

Reflections 2013: Keeping at the heart of the city

Keeping with the times: Lincoln Cathedral CEO Phil Hamlyn Williams looks back at the cathedral’s role in the city this year and the plans for the new year.

Sometimes it seems that it is all about money. We may remember 2013 as the last year we received a grant from English Heritage (£250,000) and quite possibly from the Cathedral Fabric Commission grant scheme: big blows.

Fundraising is hard work, but we have made progress. We have increased the number of our business supporters, we have been promoting The Cathedral Membership Scheme for individuals and we have had two sell-out concerts which the Cathedral itself promoted: The Halle and The Sixteen; we have four planned for 2014.

We launched our campaign to Lincolnshire Farmers for the restoration of the northwest turret on the top of which stands the Swineherd of Stow. The View from St Hugh, the campaign for the southwest turret and the brainchild of Sally Crawford (now Deputy Chief Executive at the Air Ambulance), has set the bar high.

A growing number of groups help us: the Friday Club, and Woodlands Organic Farm to name but two; a big thank you to everyone who has supported us during 2013.

We hosted three quite remarkable events.

A Celebration of Lincoln Engineering over the late May Bank Holiday. It was fabulous to see iconic vehicles in an iconic building; the Timeline created by Optima was truly eye opening; so many people (4,500 over the weekend) said how proud they were of Lincoln’s Engineering inheritance.

Another event is planned for 2015 when the emphasis will shift to the future and the ‘weekend’ will include one school day to engage children of all ages.

We welcomed stone masons from all over Europe in late June. I will never forget the sound of 140 masons working on a single site; it must have sounded like that at the time of St Hugh.

We also took the opportunity to show case the other craft skills we employ day by day. To top it all, Ian Walter was incomparable as auctioneer, raising a much needed £50,000 from an auction of the pieces the masons had made.

We again partnered the Sausage Festival and its organiser, the Rotary Club of Lincoln Colonia, on the last Saturday in October in hosting a Celebration of Food and Farming.

This year we had Lincoln Longwools on the West Green with a host of other animals from Rand Farm Park.Inside, there were tractors and stalls showing the huge variety of Lincolnshire Farming and Food production. We even had a visit from Pudsey Bear.

To name the highlight of the year is a tough choice. Was it the Lancaster bomber flying over the Cathedral at the service to commemorate the Dambusters, or was it Charlie Partridge’s brilliant brain child, Lipdub Lincoln? I will forget neither.

Follow all the columns from the Reflections 2013 series

Phil Hamlyn Williams is a writer and Chair of Trustees at Lincoln Drill Hall and the Lincoln Book Festival. He was Chief Executive of Lincoln Cathedral. He spent twenty five years in the accounting profession with ten years as a partner in Price Waterhouse. He then worked in management and finance in the charity sector.