Staff and volunteers of Hereford Cathedral welcomed Lord Ashton of Hyde on Thursday 19 April as part of a ministerial visit to the city.

Lord Ashton, who was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in July 2016, visited the cathedral to see the Weeping Window poppy sculpture. He also looked at aspects of development work which have recently taken place within and around the building and viewed some of the cathedral’s treasures including Mappa Mundi.

Lord Ashton’s visit began at Weeping Window where he was able to meet some of the volunteers who have been welcoming visitors to the artwork since its installation on 14 March. After spending time at the sculpture, the minister moved into the cathedral to observe the educational work which has been produced in response to Weeping Window.

Lord Ashton was also taken up onto the cathedral roof. Escorted by cathedral architect, Robert Kilgour, the minister viewed the recent lead work which has been completed as a result of a grant from the First World War Cathedral Repairs Fund.

Lord Ashton also saw the Ascension stained glass window by John Maine RA, installed in 2017 in tribute to the SAS Regiment, and tried his hand at bell ringing with the cathedral bell ringers before completing his visit in the Mappa Mundi and Chained Library Exhibition.

Glyn Morgan, Chapter Clerk and Chief Executive of Hereford Cathedral, said: ‘It was a pleasure to welcome Lord Ashton to the cathedral as we near the end of Weeping Window’s time with us. We were also delighted to be able to show Lord Ashton some of the work that the Government has helped fund as part of the First World War Cathedral Repair Fund, which honoured the role that cathedral played in supporting their communities at that time and since, not least with the number of commemorative events hosted over the past four years. The repair of the roofs, which is a vast job, has been essential in keeping the building watertight and secure, allowing the many treasurers it contains to be protected for future generations.’