900th Annivesary Of The Diocese Was Unforgettable

PUBLISHED: 12:09 26 January 2009 | UPDATED: 10:43 04 May 2010

From The Mayor s Parlour ANYONE who was lucky enough to have a ticket for the service in the cathedral on Saturday, marking the beginning of celebrations of the 900th anniversary of the formation of the diocese of Ely, will not easily forget the occasion.

From The Mayor's Parlour

ANYONE who was lucky enough to have a ticket for the service in the cathedral on Saturday, marking the beginning of celebrations of the 900th anniversary of the formation of the diocese of Ely, will not easily forget the occasion. For several days, flower arrangers from different parts of the diocese had been assembling a magnificent display of white lilies, roses and carnations to welcome the Archbishop of Canterbury to a special communion service in the cathedral. His theme echoed the message on the sundial in the market place that "a city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden". The Ely Cathedral Girls' Choir joined the main choir and, with the Prime Brass ensemble supporting the organ, they gave the packed congregation a musical feast to enhance the Christian message transmitted on this great anniversary. This fitted in well at the end of the week of prayer for Christian unity, which had begun with a commissioning service of Churches Together In Ely at the Lighthouse Centre.

As the days lengthen, we can anticipate revived interest in outdoor activities and the City Council, through the Mayor's Olympic Initiative, is looking at the development of athletics locally. A group was formed more than two years ago, with representatives of several sports meeting in our council chamber on a regular basis since then. Many ideas have been discussed but a large number had to be ruled out as being too ambitious. The success of the Beijing Olympics kindled a great enthusiasm for athletics, but the trickle down effect of the London Olympic Games has not produced financial benefits for us as yet. However, the idea of an all-weather athletics track, originally proposed by the Ely Runners, has been enthusiastically endorsed by the new fast moving athletics club. We have had close links with the district council's Sports Development team and we are grateful to the district council for setting up a feasibility study, which will look at possible locations and the sustainability of an all weather track in the Ely area.

Other more immediate things to look forward to include the opening of the Babylon Gallery on February 14, a significant date for romantics as well. The gallery was also the setting for a think tank looking at ideas for the Cultural Olympiad, the non- sports part of the Olympics, which inspires us to think of our local traditions, which could include anything from pea shooting to eel catching, choral singing or Morris dancing. The first Ely In Bloom meeting was also held recently and we are hoping to link in with the diocesan 900 year celebrations. It may appear insensitive to be looking at floral improvements at a time of economic difficulty, but colour and sunshine are always good for morale, and the more we enhance our city the more people will want to visit and shop here.

Sheila Friend-Smith.

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