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Clergy Support Trust is delighted to announce that HRH The Duchess of Gloucester will be attending the 367th Clergy Support Trust Festival at St Paul’s Cathedral on Tuesday 24 May 2022.

Her Royal Highness will be representing the Trust’s Patron, HM The Queen, and will be reading the second lesson as part of the historic Service.

The world’s oldest choral festival, the Service will this year feature three of the UK’s finest cathedral choirs, Liverpool, Southwark and St Pauls. It will include stunning individual choral performances from each of the choirs, culminating in a joint anthem featuring more than 100 singers under the cathedral’s magnificent dome.

The Dean of St Paul’s, The Very Reverend Dr David Ison, will preach; people supported by the Trust will lead prayers.

The service will begin at 5.00pm with a majestic procession of the choirs, cathedral clergy, Masters of City Livery companies, Stewards of the Festival, and special guests down the central aisle of St Paul’s.

The first Festival Service was arranged in 1655 by a group of City merchants and clergymen’s sons, as a fundraiser for destitute clergy and their families. The charity now called Clergy Support Trust was born at that service; nearly four centuries later, it is still supporting thousands of people in the UK and Ireland each year.

Clergy Support Trust’s Chief Executive, The Reverend Ben Cahill-Nicholls, said:

“It is marvellous that we will be joined by HRH The Duchess of Gloucester for this magnificent moment in the Church and City calendar. We are so grateful for The Duchess’ support after such a challenging two years for clergy and their families. I am very much looking forward to this special act of worship, with clergy and their families at its heart.”

The pandemic has seen Clergy Support Trust supporting more clergy and their families than ever before. In 2021 the Trust supported more than 1,600 individual clergy households (benefiting over 4,865 clergy and their family members) with over 3,500 grants and support services totalling over £3m.

Tickets for the Festival Service at 5pm on Tuesday 24 May 2022, are free and bookable in advance.