THE Chichester Observer’s glowing and praising report on the Chichester Cathedral Flower Festival sadly was incomplete and omitted two aspects which seriously angered many people.
Many visitors were turned away when the cathedral was unrepentantly closed for two hours during the peak period on the Friday afternoon. Many ticket holders who had travelled long distances were turned away and told to come back at 4pm and some expressed their anger.
For many like us because of other appointments we could not hang around to 4pm. The reason?
A Royal visit later that afternoon, and we were told the cathedral had to be swept!
We are sure the Earl and Duchess of Wessex would not have approved of the cathedral closure and would have been highly embarrassed had they known how many cash-paying customers had been inconvenienced by their visit.
We arrived just before 2pm at the prepaid ticket entrance where there was a small queue. Those in front of us entered the cathedral but when it was our turn to enter, we were told we could not go in as the cathedral was closed!
We protested and the temporary and very inexperienced doorkeeper contacted her boss saying she had ‘trouble’ at her door. The boss arrived and eventually we were ungraciously admitted to the cathedral.
We were greeted by some (important to emphasise not all) bossy and patronising women who attempted to herd and hurry us on before we had had an opportunity to see the beautiful flower arrangements.
‘Move on, there are people behind you. You have seen this display’ were typical instructions by these women who clearly had no idea or experience with dealing with people.
Obviously there were some charming ladies who did not resort to this more aggressive style of ushering. All the men were without exception friendly and courteous in their duties, but sadly there was sufficient of the over-enthusiastic women ushers to spoil the visit for us. Judging by the many comments we overheard we were not the only dissatisfied visitors.
Alderman Graham Hewitt
Alderman Gordon Flory
Both former mayors of Gosport