WINCHESTER Cathedral is celebrating an increase of more than 20 per cent for its December services attendance. 

The figures showed a 23 per cent rise for Christmas services and a notable 28 per cent rise overall during Advent. 

The cathedral says this attendance, seen nationally, is a testament to its aim to meet changing needs and expectations, especially among Christmas market visitors. 

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The introduction of A Winchester Christmas, resonating strongly with family audiences, alongside the traditional Advent, Christmas Evensong, and Market Carol services, contributed to the increase.

The Very Rev Catherine Ogle, Dean of Winchester, said: "I was delighted to see attendance at Winchester Cathedral’s Christmas services not only reach but surpass pre-pandemic levels, as part of a pattern of increased church attendance nationally. 

“The packed services brought a wonderful spirit and energy which only added to the glorious worship led by our choirs and the sound of the newly restored church organ. We look forward to welcoming many more people this year to the beautiful and moving services of Lent and Easter.”

These figures serve as a promising indicator that recovery from the challenges posed by the pandemic is well underway.