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‘The light is beautiful’: Centenary Lantern is unveiled on Christ’s Pieces



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Inventions and discoveries which have changed the world may have taken place in Cambridge, but one thing that hadn’t changed was the bad lighting on Christ’s Pieces – until a new lantern was unveiled last week.

Dame Fiona Reynolds at the unveiling of the Centenary Lantern, marking100 years of the Rotary Club in Cambridge, on Christ’s Pieces. Picture: Keith Heppell
Dame Fiona Reynolds at the unveiling of the Centenary Lantern, marking100 years of the Rotary Club in Cambridge, on Christ’s Pieces. Picture: Keith Heppell

The new lantern was designed and constructed to mark the centenary of the Rotary Club in Cambridge. It was made possible by a collaboration between the four local Rotary clubs (Cambridge, Sawston, Cambridge South and Rutherford), the city council, county council, contractors Balfour Beatty, Emmanuel College and the nearby Wesley Church.

A host of dignitaries, including the Lord Lieutenant Mrs Julie Spence and mayor of Cambridge, Cllr Russ McPherson, gathered on Thursday (May 5) for the official switching on performed by Dame Fiona Reynolds, former Master of nearby Emmanuel College.

Dame Fiona Reynolds, former Master of Emmanuel College, at the ribbon cutting ceremony with Edward Thackray, who led the Rotary of Cambridge project to site a new lantern on Christ’s Pieces. Picture: Keith Heppell
Dame Fiona Reynolds, former Master of Emmanuel College, at the ribbon cutting ceremony with Edward Thackray, who led the Rotary of Cambridge project to site a new lantern on Christ’s Pieces. Picture: Keith Heppell

Proceedings were opened by Jenny Chapman-Hay, the president of Rotary of Cambridge, who welcomed the dignitaries and VIP guests at the unveiling of the lantern “to celebrate the centenery of Rotary in Cambridge” and thanked “all those who helped bring this project to fruition”. The three-year project was led by Rotarian Edward Thackray.

Being located in what had been the darkest spot on Christ’s Pieces relieves anxiety for those who walk or cycle across Christ’s Pieces at night, said Dame Fiona before performing the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Jenny Chapman-Hay, president of Rotary of Cambridge, welcomes guests to the official opening of the Centenary Lantern. Picture: Keith Heppell
Jenny Chapman-Hay, president of Rotary of Cambridge, welcomes guests to the official opening of the Centenary Lantern. Picture: Keith Heppell

“The light,” she said, “is beautiful.

“I myself have walked across Christ’s Pieces many times in the dark and this lantern will light their way for countless years, so I thank the Rotarians for their wisdom – and a little bit of determination – and am happy to share the delight of this marvellous, beautiful lantern.”

Mrs Julie Spence said: “It is really good to be here, and really appropriate to celebrate the Rotarians’ centenary in the middle of Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee year.

“I hope you’re looking to where you’re going to put one for the 200-year anniversary!”

The lettering on the stone surround at the foot of the lantern was carved by Cambridge-based letter carver Pippa Westoby, who said: “The event was lovely, and well organised, and it was great to be invited.

Rotary of Cambridge lantern lettering by Pippa Westoby (56626466)
Rotary of Cambridge lantern lettering by Pippa Westoby (56626466)

“I was first contacted by Edward Thackray from the Rotary Club of Cambridge, who sent me the wording, and I then produced a design for them. Once the design had been approved, I ordered the York stone from Apex Stone, who supplied and installed the plinth. They delivered the stone to my workshop at Cambridge Artworks, where I drew on and carved the lettering and the Rotary Club logo by hand.”

Rotary in Cambridge is currently involved in many projects to serve the community here and abroad.



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