Cambridgeshire

Peterborough Cathedral Gaia Earth: The world in your hands

Peterborough Cathedral Earth exhibition Image copyright Grace Johnson
Image caption Thousands have photographs of themselves "holding" the whole world in their hands

A giant spinning model of the Earth has been a "brilliant" boost to visitor numbers at a cathedral, staff said.

More than 37,000 people came to see the Gaia art installation at Peterborough Cathedral during its four-week stay.

Artist Luke Jerram's illuminated model is 1.8 million times smaller than Earth and is one of several on a global tour.

The cathedral said visitor numbers had more than doubled with many families coming during the holidays and several school trips this month.

Image copyright Jade Earp
Image caption More than 37,000 people flocked to see the giant Earth model
Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Choristers arrived for Evensong below the Gaia installation

"We couldn't have hoped for the numbers we've had - the engagement in Peterborough has been spectacular," the cathedral's commercial director, Dave Cramp said.

He said the "stand out thing" was "people trying to be creative and engage [others] in conversations around climate change".

"It does seem to have done that- it's lit some inspiration and engagement in that subject," he added.

Image copyright Kristina Hickey
Image caption Gaia is designed to give people the same sensation astronauts experience when looking at the planet from space
Image copyright PA Media
Image caption The model is seven metre (23ft) in diameter and it rotates to a specially-composed surround-sound score
Image copyright PA Media
Image caption The 3D installation rotates once every four minutes, which is 360 times faster than our real planet
Image copyright Geograph/Richard Croft
Image caption A local company will replace all of the cathedrals 140 lightbulbs with more energy-efficient LED bulbs
Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Cathedral Dean, Very Revd Chris Dalliston, invited people to "reflect on the beauty of the earth"
Image copyright Kristina Hickey
Image caption In Greek mythology Gaia is the personification of the Earth

Having the world literally at their fingertips for a month also made cathedral staff "more aware of our green credentials", Mr Cramp said.

One positive to come out of it was funding from a local company to enable the cathedral to replace all its 140 light bulbs with LED versions.

"That'll make a massive difference to our consumption and costs, and we're excited about that," he said.

After being carefully de-rigged by a team on Monday, this Gaia's next stop with be Riga in Latvia.

"We're going to miss it," Mr Cramp added.

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