The Archbishop of Canterbury will be taking a turn at helping staff the Church Stand at the Guardian Hay Festival at Hay-on- Wye. For the first time ever the Churches in the Diocese of Hereford are to take a stand at the Festival, the country's largest literary event. The stand will feature the work of the Hereford Cathedral Perpetual Trust alongside the promotion of many of the grade one listed buildings as places for Festival goers to visit.
"We are delighted that Archbishop Rowan will be helping out and hopefully drawing attention," said Anni Holden, spokeswoman for the Diocese of Hereford. "We have been receiving offers to help steward during the ten day event but we did not expect an Archbishop to be among them."
Archbishop Rowan Williams will be at Hay Festival on Thursday 28th May when he is in conversation about his new book about the Russian writer Dostoevsky followed by lunch in the presence of another Archbishop, Desmond Tutu, Nobel Prize winner and former Archbishop of Cape Town.
They will be announcing the winner of the Michael Ramsey Prize, a prize given for the best contemporary theological writing, at that lunch.
"We are expecting the Archbishop to visit us at sometime on Thursday afternoon to thank the volunteers for the help they are giving at this first-time-ever event for us. We hope he will be impressed by what we have to offer not just to him, but to all visitors to the Festival," added Anni. "We rather hope to see Archbishop Tutu as well, but he is giving the Hamlin Lecture on the same evening so taking to our stand might be a bit much. I am sure we will be aware of him on the site though."
The stand, which can be found near the Sky Arts Studio, is staffed by different organisations working together. Visit Herefordshire have helped to fund the site; The Three Choirs Festival, which is being held in August will have a presence; Hereford Cathedral Perpetual Trust will also be there encouraging people to support them in raising funds for the cathedral's restoration programme with one of their stonemasons working site and highlighting the importance of preserving traditional crafts.