A dazzling gala dinner has provided a major boost for the exciting transformation of magnificent Hull Minster.
The candlelit event for 150 specially-invited guests showcased the Minster as a fabulous banqueting venue, with dinner served in the newly-created open space in the Minster’s Nave.
The exclusive event was held to thank supporters of Hull Minster’s development project and also raise money to fill a £150,000 funding gap required to complete phase two of the scheme.
Guests were able to appreciate the remarkable transformation well under way, with tables set out in the centre of the Nave – now cleared of pews – and on new limestone flooring.
Diners backed the development project generously, with £12,300 raised from an auction of fantastic experiences managed by well-known local auctioneer Stephen Larard.
The auction featured experiences donated by organisations supporting the Hull Minster appeal, ranging from an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of The Deep, including the opportunity to feed fish from within the lagoon, to a twilight sail on board the CatZero yacht.
A further £3,100 came from a charity raffle of prizes, including an Indian food masterclass and superb dining experience for four people at the Tapasya@Marina restaurant.
With further proceeds, including a single donation of £10,000 from a donor who was unable to attend, the dinner will benefit the development project directly by at least £21,000, after the costs of the event are deducted.
So far £3.4m has been raised towards the £4.5m target to deliver the transformation project in full, with all of the money coming from private individuals, local companies and trusts.
Phase one of the project saw the churchyard become part of the refurbished Trinity Square, creating an open and welcoming entrance to the Minster.
Now work is well under way on phase two, which involves internal remodelling and renovations that will enable the church to fulfil its potential as a place to be used and enjoyed by the whole community. The changes include the re-ordering of the Nave and the creation of a spectacular glazed entrance inside the church’s grand west doors.
The Vicar of Hull Minster, the Reverend Canon Dr Neal Barnes, said: “The gala dinner was a great success, both in raising funds and showcasing the wonderful changes that are making Hull Minster an even more amazing place to worship, enjoy, explore and belong.
“So many of our guests commented on the space that has been opened up to create a spectacular and flexible setting for events such as this and many more opportunities. People know the Minster is a magnificent place and it now has an even greater wow factor. It will be a unique asset for the city.
“Our exciting vision for a church fit for worship and community use today and into the future is becoming reality, thanks to the generous backing we continue to receive.
“We’re so grateful for everyone who has helped us get this far, but we still need more support for our final push to fund phase two, which is the fulcrum of the whole project, and then move on to the final stage of this remarkable transformation.”
Hull Minster Development Trust Chair John Robinson said: “We would like to thank everyone who attended the gala dinner, and the many organisations who supported the event, for their tremendous generosity.
“Even though the phase two works are continuing in various places around the Minster, the church looked absolutely spectacular and gave our guests a real insight into what it will become.
“Our project is opening up so many opportunities for broader and wider uses for this great building, placing it at the very heart of the community.
“It will also provide the facilities to enable the team at Hull Minster to carry out vital work supporting the homeless, ex-offenders, young people and many other groups.
“We have come so far, with so much support. We just need a little extra funding to complete the core element of the project by early in the new year.”
The phase two works are creating a flexible, open space in the Nave, with new stone flooring and underfloor heating, for more inclusive worship as well as a wide range of cultural, social and community events.
The changes have include the removal of the Victorian pews to enable the installation of the new floor and underfloor heating. Many of the pews will return to the church in shortened form at either side of the Nave or made moveable on raised platforms or on castors, so they can be moved in or out as appropriate for services and to accommodate larger-scale events.
All the beautifully-carved pew ends are being preserved and timber from the pew seats and backs will be used for furniture and fittings for the church’s new shop and café, display cabinets and storage cupboards.
Further changes in phase two include new toilets, a kitchen, lighting and audio-visual system to enable the Minster to become a hub for cultural, artistic, community and corporate events.
To find out more about the development project and contribute to the fund raising go to www.hullminster.org/transformation-project