Thursday 25th April, 2013
* Congratulations to Cathedral member and author John Gifford MBE on the award of an Honorary Fellowship of RIAS (The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland). John has written many of the Pevsner Architectural Guides: ‘Buildings of Scotland’, and all of us share in the joy of this richly deserved honour.
* Work is progressing on the north side of the Cathedral. Bulldozers have been bulldozing, and foundations are about to start.
* Richard Pankhurst was a much loved and respected member of the Cathedral. At his Service I said:
“It’s right that a service take place in this Cathedral, the church Richard most faithfully attended and served. Others will pay tribute to him as a scholar and botanist; let me say just a word about Richard the pilgrim. He faced his diagnosis by looking death in the eye. “Graham, you’re meant to know about these things, help me prepare.” And that’s precisely what we did. And in that strange irony it emerged that I was the one being fed rather than doing the feeding; I the one whose faith was strengthened by Richard’s obvious courage.
On Palm Sunday evening I took communion to Richard and Anne in the Royal. The makeshift altar at his bedside contained his laptop and a USB stick to ensure that his botanical database was up-to-date, a palm cross, the bread and the wine of the Eucharist, eaten and drunk in memory of him whose holy week was beginning and good Friday looming. Unlike his Lord, although that Holy Week was his last week, Richard did not last until Good Friday, but died peacefully with wife and daughter at his side. I will give thanks not simply for his friendship, for his contribution to scholarship and to the life of this Cathedral, for being the lovely person he was, but also for leaving me an icon of faith and of faithful acceptance and of trust in God’s love, for himself and for Anne.”