Durham Cathedral has been decked out with flowers for a six-day festival inspired by the 1,300-year-old Lindisfarne Gospels.
Veteran BBC correspondent Kate Adie OBE, who is patron of the Jewels of the North event, was there yesterday as final preparations took place before the grand and colourful displays open to the public today until Wednesday.
Some of the arrangements depict the manuscript’s incipit lettering while others more modern interpretations of the chronicles.
Other displays, many of which are based around the theme of learning, represent the Aurora Borealis, the Angel of the North, Northumberlandia and Hadrian’s Wall.
Sunderland born Ms Adie said: “When I was asked to be the patron of Jewels of the North, I knew that I could not say no.
“Growing up in Sunderland, Durham Cathedral was known as the church on the hill.
“It is still how I think of it now, as a wonderfully inspirational building, and it will be simply transformed by this spectacular festival of flowers and design.
“To see this glorious Cathedral garlanded with flowers on an unprecedented scale will be a sight to behold.”
Floral designers Pauline Lund and Judith Clancy were behind the arrangements and had the help of the Northumberland and Durham branches of the National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies.
Tonight, Ms Adie and Gardeners’ Question Time’s Eric Robson will host an evening of conversation at the Gala Theatre at 8pm while tomorrow there will be a photography morning from 5.30am to 7am at the cathedral.
Also tomorrow from 10am to 4pm and Sunday from 1pm to 4pm, Garden Delights will offer visitors the chance to see some of the cathedral’s manuscripts and rare books with gardening and floral themes.
Starting at 7.30pm tomorrow, Prince Bishops Brass will present Jewels of Brass.
From Sunday to Tuesday, the Castle Theatre Company will perform Shakespeare’s comedy As You Like It. Performances are at 7.30pm each night.
The Very Reverend Michael Sadgrove, Dean of Durham, said: “I am absolutely thrilled to experience this wonderful cathedral in the way that it has been enhanced, beautified and adorned by these wonderful arrangements.
“Our hope, of course, is that many, many people will come into the cathedral over the next few days to experience for themselves the wonderful achievements of these great team of arrangers.”
To book tickets for the events, call 03000 266 600.
For more information go to www.durhamcathedral.co.uk