Editorial January 2018 – Progress report: St Paul’s Anglican Pro-Cathedral “Save Valletta’s Skyline” Restoration Appeal
The Prince honoured us by coming by to show his support, the children painted and the ladies lunched – joined of course by quite a few of the gentlemen. It’s been a busy time for our volunteers – and we again send a big thank you to you all.
Our “Save Valletta’s Skyline” St.Paul’s Pro-Cathedral Restoration appeal continues to forge ahead- with positive responses from here at home and abroad. More than €540,000 is already collected with €200,000 pledged for 2018. Applications are pending for EU funds which we hope will provide a major boost.
HRH The Prince of Wales braved the rain and wind on October 4 to view the restoration plans and meet many of those involved in the Appeal. Welcomed by our Co-Chairman, Sir Martin Laing and the Chancellor, the Reverend Canon Simon Godfrey, the Prince then visited the newly-opened Undercroft Cafe. HRH warmly commended members of the Appeal Committee and representatives of the English Speaking Union. He was especially impressed by the lively work submitted for the Save Valletta Skyline Children’s Art Competition shown to him by the contest organisers Lucy Paterson and Michelle O’Reilly- see below for link to the list of winners. The Suffragan Bishop of Gibraltar, the Right Reverend Dr.David Hamid, gave a blessing in a short ceremony.
The Prince had earlier backed up his support of the Appeal by making a generous personal donation. He first worshipped in the cathedral while an undergraduate at Cambridge University when he made two unofficial visits to Malta on holiday in 1968 and 1970, staying with the then-Governor-General’s family. In thanking the Prince, Co-Chairman Martin Scicluna said “This valuable endorsement by The Prince of Wales has given the appeal a great fillip and reinforces the strong connections that the cathedral has with the Royal Family.”
In September Sir Cameron Mackintosh, the London-based producer of such world-wide theatre hits as Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera and Cats, provided another major boost to the Appeal by pledging a €100,000 donation. Sir Cameron, who owns a Valletta property and whose mother was of Maltese descent, said he was “delighted” to help finance restoration works by the Appeal. He said: “Valletta, a city full of historic buildings, would not be the same without this splendid landmark, It is so important that such jewels like St Paul’s are maintained for future generations to admire.”
In October a group of 70 supporters attended a gourmet lunch held at Verdala Palace by kind permission of the H.E.the President of Malta. Organized by Vanessa Coleiro and Michelle O’Reilly, the event raised €10,000 for the Appeal. Farsons generously supplied the meal and wines. Guests from the Soho House Club in London flew over to also offer their support. A lively raffle followed with many staying on to enjoy the autumn sun and to dance to old classics on the Palace’s splendid terrace.
In November came the long-awaited announcement of the winners of the Save Valletta Skyline Children’s Art Competition.The almost 200 entries were judged by Madelaine Gera, Norbert Attard and James Vella Clark. Presenting the awards, Her Excellency Mrs. Dolores Christina, Acting President of Malta, complimented all on their enthusiasm and talent. Sir Martin Laing especially thanked Lucy Paterson and Michele O’Reilly for their hard work as organisers. The resulting book “Young Eyes on Valletta” is on sale at major bookshops and at the Undercroft at the Pro-Cathedral. You can see the full list of winners and runners up at:
Future events for your diary: grand performance of Handel’s Messiah on January 12 at the Pro-Cathedral featuring the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra joined by the Goldberg Ensemble and the University of Western Australia Choral Society ; New College, Oxford Organ Recital February 10 in the Pro-Cathedral; Poetry Reading organised by the Marquis de Piro April 10 ; St Martin-in-the-Fields Concert, Valletta April 29 : St Martin-in-the-Fields Concert, London June11; Grand Summer Ball at Palazzo Parisio on Friday, July 20.
Keep tuned on our website or Facebook for more stimulating events as we re-double our efforts to meet our long-term goal. And thank you again to everyone for your hard work. ”