There was a theme of celebration in the air at Peterborough Cathedral on Thursday afternoon (17th January) for the finale event for Peterborough Celebrates 900.

Guests who gathered in the Cathedral’s New Building included the Mayor and Mayoress of Peterborough, representatives from Peterborough City Council, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire and members of the Cathedral Chapter.

The Very Revd Chris Dalliston, Dean of Peterborough, introduced the event by describing 2018 as “a fantastic year”, and stated that it had been an honour to be in partnership with so many different organisations during Peterborough Celebrates 900. “At a time when the country is so fragmented,” he said, “unity and diversity – celebrating being together – is so important.”

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A video which showed highlights of Peterborough Celebrates 900 was then premiered. The year-long celebration, set up to mark Peterborough Cathedral’s 900th anniversary in 2018, included a whole host of events, including Tim Peake’s Spacecraft, which came to the Cathedral between August and November, attracting over 170,000 visitors. Other highlights included the resiting of three Antony Gormley statues in the city centre, ‘Museum of the Moon’ – a touring artwork which attracted 40,000 visitors to the Cathedral in October, the first ever interfaith Peterborough Ramadan meal and a Guinness World Record for the number of ‘fairies’ congregating in one place, when 878 people gathered on the Cathedral green on 10th June.

The finale wasn’t just about looking back at the last 12 months, though. The event saw the unveiling of ‘Peterborough Celebrates Reading’ – a celebration of books and literature which will begin with a big launch event in Cathedral Square in June. This new focus for Peterborough Celebrates will last until July 2020, and plans already include a digital storytelling project and a three month exhibition of the work of Nick Sharratt (Dame Jacqueline Wilson’s illustrator).

In addition, the Peterborough Celebrates Endowment Fund was launched at the event. The fund, which already has £300,000 in pledges, has been set up to fund and give grants to a variety projects in Peterborough. The aim is eventually to raise £1 million in order to create a lasting legacy for the city.