Westminster Abbey People Share Stories for #MakeHistory Campaign

Westminster Abbey has released a new collection of images telling the stories of the people who work behind the scenes to support the Abbey’s first public appeal in 30 years to raise funds for The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries.

Centuries-old Abbey roles of priest, gardener, stone mason and archivist are featured in the set of pictures and with a nod to modernity, more contemporary jobs like web developer and fundraising director have also been included.

The Abbey invited its people to participate in an unusual photo-shoot in the building site of the new galleries shot by London fashion and portraiture photographer, Gareth Cattermole from Getty Images. Posed alongside power drills, scaffolding and ladders, the results offer a very different view of the Abbey compared to the familiar grand ceremonial images of royal services, and capture a significant moment in the church’s history.

The pictures of the Abbey’s people will be shared on the Abbey’s social media channels using the #makehistory hashtag and, accompanied by short stories told in the individual’s own words, which aim to inspire the public to donate to the galleries, which are due to open in 2018.

Stories include the conservator who grew up on a council estate and was inspired by the stained glass in the local church to pursue a career caring for historic buildings, to the gardener who abandoned his job in television to take up gardening full-time after doing an evening class, and the verger who played truant to hang around Coventry Cathedral and now regularly welcomes HM The Queen when she visits the Abbey.

About the Campaign

The Abbey has already raised £18.5 million through private donations and trusts for the galleries towards a total project cost of £23 million. The last public appeal was led by the Duke of Edinburgh over 30 years ago to clean and carry out repairs to the interior and exterior of the Abbey.

Westminster Abbey is known worldwide as a royal church but it less well-known that the Abbey is independent from the Church of England and receives no funding from the Church, Crown or State. It relies upon visitor income for its day-to-day running costs with major projects supported by fundraising.

The stories will be shared weekly on Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook and, Instagram.

Donations to #makehistory can be made by text, via an online donations book or sponsoring a pane of glass. See https://www.westminster-abbey-galleries.com for more.

© 2017 The Dean and Chapter of Westminster

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