On a crisp morning with the sun glowing brightly, a group of Fuellers assembled at Winchester Cathedral for Fuellers Sunday. It was a lovely turn out of some new faces alongside some of our regular attendees. Winchester was chosen due to being my Diocese where we were greeted by Canon Reverend Christine Dale, from my village church. We were graciously hosted with pews reserved in the front row of the most magnificent setting. My family were also in attendance, the girls enjoying the sights and sounds. The organ stirred as the sun streamed through the vast stain glassed windows. Looking aloft through the beams towards the vaulted ceiling it was difficult to take in just how special a moment this was. Not only was the Cathedral plentiful in congregation, but it was also streaming to a wider audience, including our home congregation.
The ministry, in green and white vestments, and the choir, in scarlet, provided a colourful backdrop to the service. The Gloria and Eucharistic prayers that were sung and filled the air, sounding wonderful. It was especially lovely that the congregation could once again join in with the hymns in rousing voice, mask free in their seats. The Fuellers were welcomed by name, and brought into the very heart of the service, being invited to give the reading myself. Indeed, the Sermon concentrated very much on Energy with mentions of COP26, the responsibilities lying with Fuellers and the hopes for the healing of the world ahead. The prayers also incorporated the Company, including support for our Charitable Trust Fund and its Trustees. We were also invited to partake in communion, minus the sharing of wine.
Before long the service was over, and we were invited to partake in refreshments including tea and chocolates! It was lovely to take a moment to chat to those present who showed a real interest in the Livery and were keen to know more about the Fuellers. Soon, it was time to move on to lunch. The party wished my Consort, Dave, safe travels as he departed to fly to the other end of the country to represent the Fuellers at a 152 Regiment training exercise early the following day.
The remaining party walked through the Cathedral grounds to the front gate, where we crossed into the Old Vine Pub. A hearty meal welcomed us all in our own dining area, the ambiance more like a family celebration with our children attending too. The quality of the food was wonderful and even the children had had sufficient. The time passed quickly in convivial conversation, and the refreshment gently flowed. In danger of nodding off by mid-afternoon, it was time for one last stop. As some of the party departed, the remaining group headed to Wolvesly Castle.
Walking around the Cathedral and through some stunning and very old architecture, we explored the nearby streets, hiding an independent book shop and artist to mention a couple. Past the house which saw the last breaths of Jane Austen when she passed away in 1817. A little further, past the Pilgrim’s School and we found ourselves outside the current Bishops magnificent residence. After what seemed like following a path into a secret garden, the ruins were revealed. Old and long abandoned stone remnants of the Bishops Palace, the main residence of the mediaeval bishops of Winchester. Largely demolished in 1786, the ruins span a large area, and the children enjoyed a game of hide and seek while the remainder of our party took in the history. I was interested to note that a plaque detailing the Manors which hosted medieval Bishops as they travelled around the country, included Woodhay Manor, in the same parish as our home.
In what seemed like no time at all, it was time to head home, retracing our steps to the front of the Cathedral. It had been lovely to spend the day with fellow Fuellers getting out and about like the old days. Such a special day, it will be some time before the memories fade.