Winchester Cathedral’s highest honour, the Companionship of St Swithun, has been conferred on Bruce Parker, the chairman of the Cathedral Friends.

The ceremony took place during the cathedral’s evensong service and was attended by the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, Nigel Atkinson and Mrs Atkinson.

The main presenter of BBC South’s regional programmes for nearly two decades and the first presenter of The Antiques Roadshow, Mr Parker said that becoming a Companion of the St Swithun Order was one of the highlights of his life. 

Only two other people have received the award, Father John Cutter, a leading cathedral benefactor, and Lady Mary Fagan, the former Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, who was the driving force behind a number of substantial funding appeals. 

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During the service, the Dean, the Very Rev Catherine Ogle, quoted the cathedral statutes before conferring the honour on Mr Parker: “There shall be an Order known as the Companion of St Swithun who may be appointed by the [cathedral] chapter. A person shall be eligible who is reckoned to have given exceptional and outstanding service to the cathedral.”

At a reception following the installation ceremony, the Dean referred to Mr Parker’s long and loving service to the cathedral. For more than 50 years, he’s been a member of the Cathedral Friends and its chairman for the past ten years. He was also a council member of the Friends as long ago as the 1980s.