Brand new support group for Tewkesbury Abbey launched
A new group has been set up to enable youngsters to do their bit to help the church, which will mark its 900th anniversary in four years' time. The Young Friends of Tewkesbury Abbey has been established as a subset of the Friends of Tewkesbury Abbey, with the aim of ensuring the long-term future of the organisation
The plan is to get young people enthused by, and informed about, heritage in general and the abbey in particular. Joanne Raywood, coordinator of the Young Friends, said: "We aim to do this through a series of fun events, held at regular intervals. Our first event was a series of tours of the hidden places and artefacts of the abbey, followed by lunch. "We had a wonderful day. We explored all sorts of places that are normally off limits - climbing narrow winding stairs and walking crabwise along narrow tunnels inside the walls.
"The children climbed the tower, visiting the ringing room and the bell chamber and examining the tower clock. People in the town must have wondered what was going on as bells rang out randomly throughout the morning. The children also walked across the ceilings above the nave and ambulatory and they descended into the Clarence vault to see the bones."
The children were able to try on some abbots' mitres, swing thuribles and carry candle holders. They also visited Allen Wright, the abbey's own archaeologist, who showed them an array of artefacts, including a 14th century Peruvian pot and the original medieval floor tiles bearing the coats of arms of friends to the Abbey in days gone by. Joanne said it had been a positive first event and more were planned. She said: "It ended with a tasty lunch in the Abbey Hall, after which everyone went home, bearing their new Young Friends of Tewkesbury Abbey badges, membership certificates, posters, activity sheets and bars of Tewkesbury Abbey chocolate. "We are already planning our next event, which will be a summer time printing workshop in the abbey, inspired by those wonderful medieval tiles."