An Interview with Peter Challenger, Group Visits Officer… Explain your role Peter… My role is Group Visits Officer for Hereford Cathedral. I speak with groups who have expressed an interest in visiting the cathedral and I discuss tour possibilities and sometimes catering options with each group. These can be tailored to a group’s specific requirements, for example accessibility and timing preferences. I work alongside a great team of volunteers to provide people with interesting historical, architectural and religious information relating to the cathedral. I am also a Lay Clerk for the cathedral and I’m involved in the daily singing of choral services here. Where do the groups come from? All over really; we have groups from the UK including school visits, Probus groups, Art Societies, WIs, U3A groups etc, but we also have groups from abroad such as Germany, France and even as far as Australia and the USA. We currently work alongside Project International, who provide opportunities for students to visit from other countries to learn about places such as our cathedral and its history. A lot of these students visit the Mappa Mundi and Chained Library Exhibition. What’s your favourite part of the job? I really enjoy receiving feedback from groups. I start out by arranging the tour with them over the phone or email and then upon their arrival, I meet with them in person and introduce them to their guides. After their visit, I like to ask groups how they have found their day and occasionally I bump into them before they return to the coach. It’s great to be able to see visits through from start to finish, and then to receive lovely reviews about how knowledgeable the guides are and about the cathedral itself. What’s your main target at the moment? My aim is to get more young people into the cathedral and to expand the range of visitors and number of visits. A lot of people assume that you can’t come into the cathedral or that there may be an admission fee; people are often surprised to find this isn’t the case. What do people enjoy the most about the tours? Every group is different and have their own reasons for visiting, for example, some might visit for the religious aspect and some for the history and architecture of the building itself. One thing which tends to fascinate everyone is the stained glass windows, particularly the most recent addition, ‘Ascension’. The way the blue light reflects across the pillars when the sun shines through the glass is really beautiful. Click here to find out more about our cathedral tours, and if you would like to arrange a group tour please contact the Visits Office on 01432 374202 or [email protected] or [email protected].