SIR: I was saddened to read of the death of James Atwell, Dean of Winchester.

James was a towering figure, physically and spiritually.

Over the years, he and Lorna became friends and he was a man I deeply admired.

One of his many innovations was a Harvest Festival ‘Question Time’ in the Cathedral.

The panels he organised for me to grill included the NFU, young farmers, agricultural charities, teachers and the Bishop.

I always thought it symbolised, perfectly, his commitment to Hampshire, our community, our way of life - and to the God he served so diligently.

The statue to him, on the south-facing roof of the Cathedral, is fitting: I like to think he still looks over us and after us.

Alastair Stewart OBE,



SIR: May I add my own personal tribute to James Atwell to the many others I am sure are pouring in (Chronicle, December 17).

He was always so wonderfully supportive of the Winchester Festival, that when the Chronicle reported the launch of the £20.5m Cathedral Appeal in 2012 I immediately wrote to him suggesting a series of Celebrity platform interviews to raise awareness of the Appeal – entitled The Winchester Dialogues. His response was typically immediate, inviting me to meet him to discuss the list of leading figures in the Church, politics, the arts and the media. He wrote the most persuasive letters of invitation, and to our delight everyone agreed in principle immediately. Finding possible dates took rather longer because of all their busy schedules, but we managed it over several months.

James was a joy to work with, and his own fascinating Dialogue can be read in the book of the series Speaking of Faith. He was a great progressive influence here and abroad; and our sadness at his departure only heightens our appreciation of how much he achieved in his life.

John Miller,

Alresford Road,

Bishop’s Sutton