Saturday 27 October 2012

Praise be the press officer....

A few weeks ago I was doing work for my old newspaper in York and was sent to cover the announcement of a new dean to York Minster, among other things.

There was a fair-sized gathering – staff, pupils from the Minster School and various dignitaries. The new incumbent was the current dean of Leicester, Vivienne Faull. I took a pew, literally, and prepared to take my shorthand notes.

The charismatic arch bishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, gave a speech, before Vivienne Faull introduced herself to the new flock.

Notes taken, I waited for the gathering to disperse so I could grab my quote from Dean Faull – I would ask her about being a woman appointed to this significant post within the Church of England, then get on to the next job.

But, somewhat carried away with the moment, the acting dean rounded off the speeches by directly addressing yours truly. “Now what might be nice is if we have questions from the press to the new dean, so we can all hear the answers,” he said, smiling and offering a microphone.

WHAT? Was it me or had this chap watched one too many episodes of Question Time? Mute, I scanned my surroundings – the audience and international tourists milling around beyond them in one of the largest cathedrals in Northern Europe. I didn't have a list of prepared questions. Or a lot of time. I gulped and under my breath muttered my own personal Hail Mary: “Kate Adie, Kate Adie, Kate Adie”.

Thankfully, the press officer provided the divine intervention I’d been praying for. “I think we’ll do questions afterwards,” she replied to the crestfallen acting dean.


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