Cathedral Director of Music resigns

THERE has been another resignation at troubled Ripon Cathedral this week.

Director of Music, Simon Morley is leaving after less than six months in the post, bringing to four the number of senior personnel who have resigned in less than two years.

Last year his predecessor Kerry Beaumont was among three key people to leave amid complaints about the "autocratic" management style of the Dean John Methuen.

The departure of organist Mr Morley, 38, will take effect on October 31 – his 39th birthday. Neither he nor the Dean were available for comment yesterday.

A statement jointly issued by Mr Morley and the cathedral Dean and Chapter, this week said: "As he comes to the end of his 'probationary' six months as Director of Music of Ripon Cathedral, Mr Simon Morley has decided that the world of cathedral choirs is not for him in his career.

"It is with deep regret therefore, that the Dean and Chapter have accepted his resignation as from October 31, 2003.

"They would like to place on record their gratitude to Simon for his achievements during his period in office for which they are in his debt. A statement announcing his successor will be released at the end of this week."

Last year the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, the Right Rev John Packer, ordered an inquiry into troubles at the cathedral, and invited comments from the congregation, but nothing has happened as a result.

A spokesman for the diocese of Ripon and Leeds, said of the latest resignation: "The bishop has no comment to make as this is a cathedral matter."

Asked about criticisms that have been levelled against the Dean, the spokesman said: "These comments have been made about the Dean in the past. We are aware of that. The Bishop is aware of the criticism. No action is being taken at this time."