This year, on the centenary of women's suffrage, we are celebrating the women who play important roles in the daily life of the Cathedral community.
Each Saturday of the year, we will be sharing a different story here and across our social media. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and search for the #BlessedIsShe hashtag.
For the fourth week of the year, we spoke with Jean Parsons, who celebrated her 90th birthday this week. Jean is one of the team of shop volunteers at the cathedral, and a testament that when people join the cathedral community, they stay.
What’s your connection with Bristol Cathedral?
I volunteer in the Cathedral Shop on Saturday and Monday afternoons.
How long have you been associated with the Cathedral?
In 1962 I saw an advert in the Evening Post for Choristers at the Cathedral. My son was a chorister at our local church in Hanham and so we brought him along to have a chorister test. It was a big commitment for all of us as a family. I’ve been involved with the community here ever since, and I think I’m probably the first person to have been a Chorister Parent, Grandparent and now Great-Grandparent! I spent my working life as a nurse at St Michael’s Hospital and when I retired, I began volunteering in the shop.
What first drew you to Bristol Cathedral?
We didn’t have any connection with the Cathedral before my son became a Chorister, so it was the music and the opportunity for him to sing which first drew us. I think that it’s a particularly peaceful Cathedral, which I enjoy. At my age, I am really moved by enjoying friendships and conversations with younger members of the Cathedral community.
What have been some of your personal highlights?
When I was a Chorister Parent, we used to run a stall at the annual Christmas bazar which was a big commitment but lots of fun – and the cakes were delicious. I was very proud when my son became Head Chorister and it’s been very special seeing my grandson and now great-granddaughter sing here too.
What would you like to see the Cathedral doing over the next few years?
I’d like to see the Cathedral continue to open up, working with the poor, the homeless and those in this world who need help. They say that religion is on the down, but that’s not my sense in here, seeing the difference that the building, and the people who work here, have on people’s lives.
What does the Cathedral mean for you?
The Cathedral becomes a way of life. It’s difficult to put into words - like the peace of God that passes all understanding. My life wouldn’t have been what it has without it – it’s as simple as that.