Friends of the Cathedral

Friends committee membersWho are the Friends?

The Friends of Christ Church Cathedral love, support and pray for the Cathedral and its work. Members include those who have a deep affection for the House and/or the Cathedral. They may live locally within the Diocese of Oxford, elsewhere in the UK or overseas. Many members of the clergy join the Friends because they were ordained in the Cathedral. Some are volunteers, and others ex-choristers or their families.

What do the Friends do?

The Friends raise funds to support the maintenance, restoration, repair, conservation and beautification of the Cathedral. In recent years our support has helped:

•    Restoration of the St Frideswide Shrine
•    Lighting and sound systems
•    Installation of the glass doors
•    New seating for the Crossings and aisles
•    Recording projects for the Cathedral Choir
•    Support of choristers
•    Renovation of the West End of the Cathedral

The Friends work to draw the Diocese and Cathedral more closely together, widening awareness of the Cathedral’s presence and contributing to its ministry and mission.

Our events

Dinner in the cathedralWe run an annual programme of outings and activities for Friends. Many of our events have been cancelled or curtailed due to the pandemic, but we are beginning to resume our activities. See below.

Why join the Friends?

Friends enjoy:
•    A Membership pass to Christ Church Cathedral
•    A Spring Newsletter and an Annual Report
•    A programme of outings and activities including a summer garden party in Christ Church and a dedicated Friends’ Christmas Carol Service followed by supper in Hall.
•    Admission without charge to the Christ Church Picture Gallery.

Elizabeth HarrisonElizabeth Harrison
Hon. Secretary, Friends of Christ Church Cathedral
Priory Room Office, Christ Church, Oxford OX1 1DP
Phone: 01865 286003 and Mobile 07711 294871

You will be warmly welcomed as a Friend. If you are already a member, perhaps you might invite someone else to join, or take out a membership as a gift?

Friends of Christ Church Cathedral


Enews no.2 May 2021


The 81st Annual General Meeting of the Friends of Christ Church Cathedral will take place at 4.30pm on Saturday, 26 June 2021 in the marquee in the Master’s Garden or in the Sir Michael Dummett Lecture Theatre, Christ Church. Items for the Agenda should reach the Hon. Secretary by 1 June 2021

The good news that social distancing is to be relaxed will allow the Events Working Group to re-convene. We hope to be able to put together a programme of activities for the period from September 2021 to February 2022 and to send out flyers with this year’s Annual Report. We have so missed the gatherings of Friends and are keen to resume. Meantime, there are two events in the diary.

  • The summer event will take place on Saturday 26 June, from 2pm until 4pm. For the first hour the group will be able to hear Joseph Denby, Cathedral Operations Office, talk about the installation of the live-streaming system which has been so valuable during the pandemic and also to visit the SubDean’s garden. At 3pm , in the marquee in the Master’s Garden, we will welcome back to Christ Church Katie McKeogh who will talk on Being a Catholic in Elizabethan England. For the moment we are unsure whether it will be possible for tea to be served so, although the event will be ticketed, there will be no charge levied. Application  for ticket/s can be made directly to the Hon. Secretary.
  • The Friends’ Christmas  service of Five Lessons and Carols, with the Cathedral Choir, is scheduled for Monday 20 December 2021. In the spirit of optimism, the Hall has been booked for supper (Hoorah!) and its availability should be confirmed by the time the Annual Report is sent out.

Change of Membership Secretary

The Council of Friends has been joined by Glynis Baguley who is taking on the role of Honorary Membership Secretary vice John Lardner. We very much look forward to working with her.

In the interregnum, it was not possible to distribute updated Membership cards to Single and Joint Members as we usually do each March. New cards will be sent in March 2022. Although your status as a Friend is unlikely to be challenged, anyone who is anxious may apply for an updated card. 

2020-2021 Annual Report

Preparation  is underway for the publication of the past year’s activities in our Annual Report which is planned to go out in August. As ever, contributors are generous but what is amazing is the innovation and changes in practice which evolved over the duration of the pandemic. Live-streaming (installation funded by the Friends) of services has been pivotal for members of congregation, the Diocese and the wider Christian family.

Image of Elizabeth Harrison with Sub Dean Fr Richard PeersRoyal Maundy

In March an envelope of impressive quality bearing the stamp of EIIR arrived in my mailbox. In it was a letter from the Lord High Almoner informing me that my name had been submitted by Bishop Steven to be one of this year’s Maundy recipients. Such a surprise and thrill -  to be followed early in Holy Week by delivery of the Maundy purses, red and white, (containing ninety-five pence and five pounds, fifty pence respectively) from The Queen with an accompanying letter from Her Majesty.

It would be usual for The Queen to distribute the Maundy gifts of specially minted coins to the Recipients at a Service on Maundy Thursday. In 2013 Christ Church had the privilege of hosting the Royal Maundy Service when David Burnside and Jean Spurge were Recipients. It was a grand and happy occasion. This year the service, but for Covid19, would have been in Westminster Abbey. Penny Keens, a Member of the Council of Friends, was a Recipient in 2019.

So with David, Jean and Penny, I am in excellent company. I am delighted and hugely appreciative of  the honour which is not simply personal but can be seen as a tribute to the success of the Friends of Christ Church Cathedral.

Addendum to Privacy Policy

Membership data (names, addresses and subscription records) are now being stored on a PC within the Christ Church firewall. There are no changes to the management of data by the Honorary Membership Secretary except that it will now be more secure and processed more tightly in line with Data Protection legislation. If you have any queries, please contact the Membership Secretary, Glynis Baguley, the first instance, or Christ Church’s Data Protection Compliance Manager, Judith Curthoys.

With all good wishes

Elizabeth Harrison, Honorary Secretary




1.30pm The Chapter House of Christ Church Cathedral

THE CATHEDRAL CHORISTERS conducted by Professor Steven Grahl, Organist and Director of Music

We are delighted that the Cathedral Choristers will be giving us a concert in the wonderful setting of the restored Chapter House.  It will be a very exciting opportunity for many of us to listen to a concert for the first time in this very beautiful and ancient place. This will be a truly memorable occasion and we do hope will be well supported by the Friends.

Covid restrictions allowing, we hope to provide tea and biscuits after the concert

Tickets: Friends £18/ Guests £20

Please note: Parking is NOT available.

Event Organiser: Kathryn Murphy (01635 201254)


Monday, 28th March 2022 AU REVOIR AND THANK YOU

4.00pm the Champneys Room, Oriel College, Oxford

An opportunity for Friends and guests to farewell the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy and his wife, Revd Emma Percy, before they leave Oxford and to show him our appreciation of his support to the Friends of Christ Church Cathedral as Chairman of Council during his time as Dean of Christ Church. The occasion will be introduced by Mark Coote, Development Director, Merton College, Oxford.


Wednesday 6th April 2022 DINNER AT PASSIONTIDE

7.30pm Christ Church Hall

Three-course dinner with wine, coffee and chocolates

This evening has been arranged in lieu of the Christmas Supper which had to be cancelled because of Covid19 restrictions. Parking will be available on the Broadwalk. Please apply for display permit if required.

(Note: The dinner follows a special Passiontide Carol Service for Friends, sung this year by the Cathedral Singers, in the Cathedral at 6.00pm. Tickets are not required for the Carol Service and the Cathedral doors will be open from 5.30pm. The Hall doors will open immediately after the Carol Service has ended.)

Tickets: Friends £35/Guests £40


Thursday 28th April 2022 AFTERNOON LECTURE  by Joseph Denby, Cathedral Operations Manager

2.30pm The Chapter House, Christ Church

Joseph has been the Cathedral Operations Manager since summer 2018 when the post was created to accommodate the increased number of events, the need to comply with health and safety regulations, and management of both the vergers and the building. The role was intended to cover the liturgical, administrative and practical functions previously managed by the Dean’s Verger.

Coming from a background in lay clerking and theatre management, Joseph has been busy implementing many projects funded by the Cathedral Friends as well as managing the Cathedral’s response to Covid. Join us for an update from Joseph on all the goings-on ‘backstage’ at the Cathedral

2.30–3.30 pm Lecture and question time

3.30–4.00 pm Cream tea in the McKenna room

Tickets: Friends £15.00/Guests £18.00


Saturday 11th June 2022 SUMMER PARTY

This year the Summer Party will be a little different. Following the AGM Elizabeth Harrison is stepping down as Honorary Secretary of the Friends after 16 years. She has ensured vital support for the Cathedral in many exciting projects and has overseen the many changes that have taken place during these years. She has also encouraged many fascinating, diverse and enjoyable events for the Friends. We are therefore planning, with the help of Professor Steven Grahl (Director of Music) and musicians and Friends associated with the Cathedral, to celebrate those years. This will be followed by a special tea in the Chapter House. This will be the first Summer Party for 2 years and we hope it will give an opportunity for Friends to see Elizabeth and also to meet up with one another once more.

NOTE: The 2022 Annual General Meeting of the Friends will take place in the McKenna Room at 2.30pm on Saturday, 11th June 2022 and will be followed immediately afterwards by an Extraordinary General Meeting for the purpose of approving a new Constitution. Tea and Coffee will be available.

3.30-4.15pm Music and poetry Interlude in the North Transept

4.15-5.15pm Tea in The Chapter House

6.00pm Evensong in the Cathedral.

Tickets: £15.00 each



The St Frideswide window cartoons, painted by Edward Burne-Jones 1857 when he was 24 years old, were donated to Cheltenham Ladies’ College in1950 after the death of their last owner, the painter Graham Robertson. The eight large panels hang in the beautiful Arts and Crafts Council Room of CLC and are still as striking and vibrant as the day they were painted. Ruth Buckley will tell the intriguing story of how they were donated to the college and will compare them, in an illustrated talk, to the panels of the St Frideswide window in the Latin Chapel of Christ Church Cathedral. This may be the first time in almost a century that the cartoons have been compared with the window panels. Ruth’s talk will be followed by a tour of the college before returning to the Council Room for a sandwich lunch.


10.45am Assembly in the reception area of Bayshill House.

11.00 Comparison of the Edward-Burne-Jones cartoons with the Christ Church Frideswide window by Ruth Buckley in the Council Room.

12.00 Heritage tour of Cheltenham Ladies College led by the Archivist Rachel Roberts.

1.00pm Return to the Council Room for a sandwich lunch with tea/coffee.

2.00 Visit end


Tickets: Friends £ 27.00/Guests £29.00

The group will be limited to 24 so early booking is advised.

Sponsor a chair

The Friends of Christ Church Cathedral have purchased 400 Howe chairs to replace the unstackable wooden chairs and uncomfortable and aged yellow plastic seats bought decades ago. We hope now to recover some of that cost by inviting sponsorship.

Each chair sponsored will bear an aluminium plaque inscribed with a name: your own name, the name of someone you wish to commemorate, or the name of a church or parish, club, school, or other organisation. The cost of naming a chair has been set at £125 per chair (actual cost: £171). If you would like to support the project but can only donate a small amount, this will still be welcome.

For more information download our Sponsor a Chair leaflet.


There is a range of memberships for individuals, couples and parishes on offer. Please see the membership application form. If you would prefer a hard copy or would like any further information about the Friends of Christ Church Cathedral, please contact the Hon. Secretary.  



Your Personal Data – what is it?  Personal data relates to a living individual who can be identified from the data. Identification can be by information alone or in conjunction with any other information in the data controller’s possession or likely to come into such possession. The processing of personal data is governed by the General Data Protection Regulations 2016/679 [the GDPR].

Who are we? The Council of the Friends of Christ Church Cathedral is the data controller, and is responsible for how your personal data is processed and for what purposes.

How do we process your personal data? The Friends Council complies with its obligations under the GDPR by keeping personal data up to date, by storing and destroying it securely; by not collecting or retaining excessive amounts of data; by protecting personal data from loss, misuse, unauthorised access and disclosure, and by ensuring that appropriate technical measures are in place to protect personal data.

Data processed by the Friends Council in relation to the members: Names – Addresses- Email Addresses - Telephone numbers - Bank details when supplied for standing orders. We use the data to administer your membership of the Friends of Christ Church Cathedral which includes being able to send twice yearly mailing to members. The legal basis for processing the data is for the legitimate interest of your membership. Your personal data is treated as strictly confidential, and will only be shared with the Friends Council and administration volunteers. Your express permission will be sought in the unlikely case that Council wishes to share your data with any other party or to use it for any new purpose. We keep the personal data active for the length of your membership in order to operate your membership, and archive details thereafter.

Your rights and your personal data: Unless subject to an exemption order [under GDPR] you have the following rights with respect to your personal data: The right to request a copy of any data held by the Friends Council about you The right to request correction of any inaccurate or out-of-date data The right to request that your personal data is erased when it is no longer necessary for the Friends to retain such data The right, where there is a dispute in relation to the accuracy of processing your personal data, to request that a restriction is placed on further processing The right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commisioner’s Office

Contact detail: To exercise all relevant rights, queries or complaints, please in the first instance contact the Membership Secretary, Friends of Christ Church Cathedral

Membership data (names, addresses and subscription records) are now being stored on a PC within the Christ Church firewall. There are no changes to the management of data by the Honorary Membership Secretary except that it will now be more secure and processed more tightly in line with Data Protection legislation. If you have any queries, please contact the Membership Secretary, Glynis Baguley, the first instance, or Christ Church’s Data Protection Compliance Manager, Judith Curthoys.