Entrepreneur and philanthropist Paul Sykes has visited Ripon Cathedral to see the new glass doors he donated be dedicated by the Dean.
The formal ceremony took place on Thursday, December 20, and despite declaring himself not to be a religious man, Mr Sykes has been the cathedral’s main benefactor for two decades.
“Ripon Cathedral is the vital beating heart of Ripon, attracting hundreds of thousands to our community each year and bringing much-needed trade to local businesses and support for our shops. It is Ripon’s greatest asset,” he said.
The glass doors form part of the Ripon Cathedral West Narthex Project – funded by Mr Sykes for an undisclosed sum – which has also seen the restoration of the ancient wooden doors of the western entrance.
The improved entrance features three bronze porches for the ancient doors incorporating curved heads and the new glass doors have bespoke, decorated glazed panels depicting cathedral founder St Wilfrid’s missionary journeys.
The new entrance provides a unique and impressive view into the cathedral for visitors and worshippers alike.
“The doors make the church open in a way that has not been offered for centuries,” said the Dean of Ripon, the Very Revd Keith Jukes.
“We are dedicating these new doors as a mark of the generosity of Paul Sykes and in the service of God and the local community.”
The project completes a phase of development of the cathedral as a beacon of excellence for visitors which has included new lighting inside and out, new chairs which give flexibility within the building for an increasing number of community events, and the renewal of cathedral music including a planned rebuild of the organ next year.