A WORLDWIDE call has gone out from Truro Cathedral for people to make their mark on history and help it raise £3.2 million to repair the dilapidated roof.
Truro Cathedral has launched its Sign-A-Slate campaign after launching The Truro Cathedral Roof Appeal earlier this year.
The existing roof on the jewel of Truro’s crown is formed of slates that are between 107 and 130 years old and, after more than a century of being battered by the elements and intermittently patched up, all the slates now need to be replaced.
Sixty thousand slates need to be paid for in order for the illustrious building to be re-roofed.
With the slates breaking away and rusty nails causing the slates to slip, holes have now appeared that are so large that pigeons have flown into the building and are roosting inside.
Rain has also started to leak in and the cathedral’s specialist architect, Izaak Hudson, has said it was only a matter of time before this starts to damage the main part of the building if the roof is not repaired.
Mr Hudson, from architectural firm Purcell, says: "Many of the slates are delaminating and also suffering from corrosion of the nails which fix them and breakages around the nail holes which cause the tiles to slip and create holes.
"The roof space is so large, much of the rainwater that is getting in evaporates before it drains through the vault stonework into the main cathedral spaces, but it is important we undertake the repairs now to ensure the interior of the cathedral remains protected."
The Government has already provided a grant of £500,000 through the First World War Centenary Fund, which has allowed for work to get under way on the western arm of the nave, which is in the most urgent need of repair.
However, with hundreds of thousands still to raise and a long road ahead before the re-slating of the roof is completed, the cathedral’s Dean, the Very Reverend Roger Bush, has announced the Sign-A-Slate campaign.
He hopes it will put the "fun back into fundraising" and "stimulate the imagination of as many people as possible" to take part.
It offers those making a donation to the appeal the chance to sign or write a message on the back of one of the 60,000 new slates. The slates, complete with the messages etched in permanent marker, will then be in place for generations to come.
Mr Bush said: "The Sign-A-Slate Appeal is a very fitting way to encourage this major project.
"The people of Cornwall sacrificed an enormous amount to build the cathedral in the first place and we want to encourage as many people coming through the building or online to support us in this major appeal.
"We feel this is a terribly important thing for us to do because of the importance at which the cathedral is held by so many people throughout the county.
"The cathedral is an iconic building. Coming into the city, by road, by train or by boat, you see this fantastic building on the horizon. It has a really important status."
As well as hundreds of thousands of worshippers flocking regularly to the cathedral, it is one of the most versatile buildings in the entire county, hosting events from concerts to graduations, he says.
"Perhaps the most important thing that this building does for people is to offer the odd individual to come in and be quiet, to light a candle, to find some space, to be reflective – people we will probably never meet or never talk to," he adds. "For them it’s an important place to come to for that period of reflection and if we didn’t have this building then I think we would be denying so many people to explore who they are, what community means and what are important things to them.
"I do feel the cathedral serves an important purpose in the lives of so many people up and down this county."
Truro Cathedral is a self-funded entity separate from the Diocese of Truro and is entirely reliant on donations from supporters and visitors.
Mr Bush added: "Therefore raising this money is not just about keeping a historic landmark in place, but it enables the cathedral to pursue and expand its mission and its service to the people of this county for the next 100 years."
The slates will be sourced from the at Cwt y Bugail Quarry in North Wales. Welsh slate is being used because the slate produced in Cornwall today is much heavier than that were used more than 100 years ago, and would weigh too much for the cathedral’s structure to take, and because of the significant number required.
Mr Hudson added: "For those of us who will be laying the new slates that have been signed, it will be a real honour as every single one will be a reminder of the various ways people value and support the preservation of Cornwall’s only cathedral."
Work will be carried out across four phases and the roof is due to be completed by 2021.
Source : www.westbriton.co.uk – WBCaroline