As many of you will know, ringing at Portsmouth Cathedral is currently suspended whilst repair work is carried out on the tower and cupola.
The work has been progressing since last summer and was originally scheduled to complete in January but unfortunately due to further issues being identified, the project completion date has recently been extended to the April/May timeframe. Scaffolding is currently erected both inside and outside of the tower and rotten wooden beams and corroded RSJ girders are being replaced as part of the on-going repairs.
The work is being performed by Daedalus Conservation and is being funded by the First World War Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund (FWWCCRF) at an original cost of £600,000, although no doubt this will have increased significantly over recent months due to the additional repairs now required.
Sadly, the ringers have no control over the work schedule although, on a positive note, the ringing chamber was decorated during the early stages of the project.
On a personal note, the lack of ringing has enabled me to focus on a challenge that I have wanted to fulfil for 20 years. On the 8th May I start a long distance cycle ride across America travelling from Los Angeles, California, to Boston, Massachusetts a distance of 3,500 miles in just 7 weeks and which starts with a ceremonial wheel dip in the Pacific Ocean.
I am riding to support Naomi House and Dorothy House, two hospices that mean a lot to me and have a website where you can read a little more about my story. I would of course be grateful for any support from Guild ringers, whether through sponsorship, simple words of encouragement or perhaps a special ringing performance whilst I am on the road. I aim to finish in Boston on the 24th June with a second ceremonial wheel dip, this time in the Atlantic Ocean.
I’m not underestimating the magnitude of this challenge but have trained hard and although I’m 58 years old I am quietly confident that I can fulfil my dream.
Thanks for taking the time to read this.