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Cathedral turns to another spirit for fundraising

A cathedral has launched its own brand of gin as part its £1m fundraising drive to redevelop its crypt.

Gin launch Blackburn Cathedral
Blackburn Cathedral

The dean of Blackburn Cathedral the Very Rev Peter Howell Jones said he hoped Cathedra English Gin would also help in the long term to fund its education and music development programme, which currently reaches 6,500 children across 160 schools.

“This is not a novelty; this is a cathedral doing business," the dean said.

The gin is made by Brindle Distillery in Lancashire.

The crypt redevelopment would see it turned into a community and conferencing area, with an exhibition and heritage space telling the history of Lancashire’s cotton towns and the faith that underpinned them.

Moat service as swans ring bell for food

Swans, who live on the moat at The Bishop's Palace, are trained to ring a bell for food.

Widowed swan leaves The Bishop’s Palace

The Bishop’s Palace, Wells
Wynn and her brood are thought to be enjoying a new life on the Somerset Levels

Wynn the widowed swan - one of the pair of world-famous Bishop's Palace swans - has left her home on the Wells moat, along with her four remaining cygnets.

The swans are trained from a young age to ring a bell on the gatehouse when they want to be fed. But staff say they have not seen her or the family since last Thursday.

It's believed she has flown off to live out the rest of her days as part of a group of swans on the Somerset Levels.

Wynn and her life partner Brynn had lived at the Palace since 2013 rearing 45 cygnets during that time. Brynn died while she was nesting but she went on to hatch five cygnets in May.

The tradition began in the 1850’s, when Bishop Eden’s daughter Maria, taught a pair of swans to ring when they wanted to be fed.

The palace says it fully intends to ensure the tradition continues and is working alongside swan charities and sanctuaries to find a suitable new pair of breeding swans that are currently in need of a safe environment to live.

Swans, who live on the moat at The Bishop's Palace, are trained to ring a bell for food.

Bishop of Durham calls for Universal Credit rethink

The Bishop of Durham, the Right Reverend Paul Butler, has said the government must make a "long-term commitment" to making sure Universal Credit would allow recipients to feed themselves and their families properly.

It comes as the system faces criticism from across the political spectrum over accusations that its payment system leaves claimants facing weeks without money and forcing them into "crippling debt".

More than 30 Anglican bishops have backed an End Hunger UK campaign calling for the government to "fix" Universal Credit, with more help and flexibility for new and existing claimants.

Right Reverend Paul Butler

Bishop Paul, the Church lead on welfare issues, said: "We need urgent action to improve the flexibility and support for people on Universal Credit, and a long-term commitment that the social security system will provide enough income for them to afford to feed themselves and their families properly.

"Without such action, we can expect to see more and more people turning to food banks and becoming trapped in poverty.

"The problems we are seeing with Universal Credit at church-run food banks across the country must be resolved before many more people are moved on to the new benefit."

More than 90% of churches support a food bank and almost one in five (19%) run one, either directly or in partnership with another organisation.

The bishop's intervention came as it was claimed that the Department of Work and Pensions was considering making changes to provide more help to new claimants.

Bishop set to retire

The Bishop of Dover has announced he is to retire,

The Right Reverend Trevor Willmott, Bishop of Dover and Bishop in Canterbury, is to step down in May 2019, ending his public ministry in a service at Canterbury Cathedral.

The bishop has been in the role since 2010 and took on responsibility for the Channel Islands in 2014.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said: "Bishop Trevor has worked hard to foster a culture of generous hospitality to our partners from around the world.”

Church of England
The Rt Revd Trevor Willmott, Bishop of Dover and Bishop in Canterbury