A FUNDRAISING parish priest has criticised Chester Cathedral as ‘a bit like going to the betting office’.
The Rev Fr Philip North, 42, and his pastoral assistant Peter Garvie, 24, have been cycling across the UK, visiting 29 cathedrals along the way as they rack up 1,000 miles on their bicycles.
They aim to raise £30,000 for the restoration of St Michael’s Church, Camden, London, by cycling about 70 miles a day.
But when the duo arrived at Chester Cathedral, which the cyclists hoped would be one of the highlights of the tour, they were disappointed with the reception they received.
Writing on the duo’s blog, Father North said of their 13th cathedral visit: “I have to say that Chester Cathedral was the most disappointing so far, and we’re not talking architecture.
“It threw it down with rain the moment we arrived, the dean and his entire staff were too busy to meet us and I couldn’t afford to get in.
“Arriving at Chester Cathedral is a bit like going to the betting office because the first thing you’re confronted with is a row of cash tills.
“We soon realised finding a cup of tea and a piece of cake would represent better use of our time.”
Chester Cathedral’s heritage and press officer Nick Fry said the priests were made aware beforehand there would not be anyone available to see them.
The Dean of Chester, The Very Rev Prof Gordon McPhate, sent an email to the cyclists which read: “Unfortunately, the time you propose clashes with choral evensong, so no-one will be free to meet you then.”
The duo’s cycling challenge is scheduled to be completed on Sunday in London.
To sponsor Father North and Peter Garvie, visit www.justgiving.com/stmichaelscamdentown.