Submitted by george.somers@… on

Luke March, a Vice President of the National Churches Trust and a longstanding Steward of the Festival, has been attending our Festival Service for almost fifty years. We chatted with him about Stewardship, choral music, family traditions and reuniting old friends.

Why did you first become a Steward?

"At the start of the Second World War, my father was Chaplain to Bishop George Bell. He was second generation clergy; my grandfather was a vicar."

"He then became an Army Chaplain, succeeding an Army Chaplain who had been shot by a sniper. He was in the second wave of the D-Day landings, can you believe it? At the end of the Second World War, he met my mother in Holland, and Bishop Bell actually went over to Holland to marry them in 1948."

"He had been a supporter of Sons of the Clergy (now Clergy Support Trust) for many moons. He was a Steward for many years - It was a family tradition that I took on board when he died."

Why do you keep coming back to the Festival, after so many years?

"I love music, and I studied law at university. I thought 'How can I combine law with music?'. So, I became a Contracts Manager for the classical division of EMI Records."

"In the eighties, I realised I needed to get a life because it was a day job and a night job. One day, it might be a Pink Floyd concert in the evening, and then the next it would be the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden."

"Three friends and I use the Festival as a reunion every year. We all went to Durham University, and we were all involved in music and singing. We've all sung in choirs, either in our own church or in a choral society."

"The interesting thing is we're not all Anglican. One of them is, and the other one is a Roman Catholic who has been the organist of his church and conductor of a choir."

What do you enjoy most about the Festival?

"Since the seventies, it's very rare that I ever miss the Festival. It's part of my heritage. It's part of my DNA."

"It's a wonderful thing. It's always an event of great interest and excitement and reunion. And of course, the most wonderful choral music, which I suppose is the essence of my greatest joy."

"It's also one of the only events where you know the date of next year's Festival in the programme of the current Festival, so it goes in my diary straight away!"

The 369th Festival Service will be held on Tuesday 7 May 2024, 5pm at St Paul's Cathedral. Tickets are free.

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Luke March, wearing a formal black suit and glasses.

A processing Steward, looking towards the camera and smiling. He is wearing a formal black suit. A Clergy Support Trust banner is behind him.

Become a Steward

Stewards play a key ceremonial role in the historic Service, and have done so for hundreds of years.

For an annual donation of £75, Stewards can:

  • Access priority seating beneath the dome.
  • Have their support acknowledged in our Order of Service.
  • Join the procession down the aisle of St Paul’s - alongside Livery Masters, senior clergy and representatives of the City of London - as part of the Service.
  • Attend exclusive events, such as Drinks Receptions with our Chief Executive.
  • Support our work with thousands of Anglican clergy and their families.

Find out more