Since the launch of the Roof Appeal in 2016, over 5,600 of you have taken part in ‘sign-a-slate’ with the messages written becoming part of the fabric and story of the cathedral for years to come. Raising more than a quarter of a million pounds in associated donations to date, there’s one man that has consistently been there to help all those coming into the cathedral to take part – Kevin Bray. I caught up with him to find out more…
Kevin, what would you say is your ‘job’ on the slate station?
Well, on a practical level, I’m here to welcome visitors, tell them about the roof project, explain how they can take part in Sign-A-Slate,
What do you most enjoy about it?
Getting to meet people from all walks of life, from all around the world! Also witnessing people’s pleasant surprise at the realisation when writing their slate that ‘there’s so much more to this than we thought!’ – usually referring to the emotions often prompted by participation – from laughter and storytelling to tears, prayer and reflection.
What is the biggest challenge?
Although many slates are written in celebration – of births, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries or simply of life – many are also written in memory of loved ones. I often hear of tragedies, accidents and illnesses of loved ones of all ages and frequently there are tears. At these points, I rely on God to keep me strong… but I’m not made of stone.
You’ve had several Royal visitors sign slates – what was that like?
It was, of course, an honour to meet all four royal visitors we’ve welcomed over the past two years and tell them about the community and personal engagement that Sign-A-Slate has prompted. They all showed interest and it was good to get their support for the project.
Do people ever get stuck with what to write on the slates?
I go to great lengths to stress that writing or drawing on the slates is not about neatness, nor artistic ability nor being a wordsmith – it’s about writing or drawing from the heart, whether in laughter, reflection or sadness.
What do you think people most enjoy or value about Sign-A-Slate?
Initially, the thought that their message will form part of the cathedral roof for generations, one day to be read again. But I’m privileged to witness the enjoyment many often take from the opportunity to speak openly and share personal memories and stories in a church – wherever each person stands on belief.
What would be your top tip for anyone thinking of taking part in Sign-A-Slate?
Write from the heart, take your time… and bring a camera!
You can find out more about the Roof Appeal and how to take part in Sign-A-Slate by visiting www.tcroofappeal.org.uk.