||The Lord Bishop of Chichester.
|| The Dean of Chichester.
| Vice Presidents:
|| Richard Cock Esq.
Dr. Alan J. Thurlow
Jeremy L. Suter Esq.
| Hon. Chaplain:
||Rev'd David Burton Evans
In 1975 for the 900th Anniversary
of Chichester Cathedral many old choristers attended events
and I was amazed that there was no association to organize
events for them - it was all a little haphazard. I spoke
to John Birch and he said go ahead and try to organize a
summer re-union - I got the feeling it had been tried before
I was a lay-vicar at the time, but interested in the idea
of getting people together - it was obvious that there was
a great love of the Cathedral and of the tradition and of
John Birch. So I roped in help from various people who had
names and addresses and with the help of the Banda machine,
sent out letters.
The thing snow-balled and after a year or so we had a small
committee to help: David Graebe, Michael Waterhouse, Alex
Meg and Hoppy Reid, who were great supporters, did the catering,
Anne Eyre later did it, Joe Croney supplied sherry and wine.
It was really a very home-grown effort - but very successful
and on a very small budget - mostly mine!!
The format was basically a summer gathering once a year.
I had tried and made contact with the larger organisation
of Chorister Societies.
The Clergy and staff were always very helpful - we used
John Birch's garden and for the last one that I did we tagged
onto the Southern Cathedrals Festival and used their facilities.
Before the CCCA was started by Richard
Cock in the 1970s, past choristers used to meet in a back
room at the Ship Hotel in North Street for lunch prior to
the Carol Service that was held on the Sunday after Christmas.
That tradition died out when the carol service moved to
Some members camped out one year when the Southern Cathedrals
Festival (SCF) was at Chichester. They set up tents on the
tennis courts, which is rumoured that Barry Marsh organised
and got permission from Bernard Bate the then Headmaster.
The first official reunion was in 1976. This was a get together
to see if enough past Choristers were interested in joining
an Old Choristers Association and much to John Birchs
(the Organist and Master of the Choristers) surprise, there
were! The Dean and Chapter helped pump prime the fledging
association by granting a loan of £200 that helped
fund the purchase of old chorister ties. The Association
was called the Chichester Choristers' Association which
was later changed to the Chichester Cathedral Choristers'
Association (CCCA) to make it more specific. Originally
the word Old was also inserted, however this
was removed as it was felt that it ostracised the current
members of the choir and made it sound like an old
boys club which was not the idea!
In the early days, before the Bell Rooms or Cloisters Café,
the Summer Reunion used to be held in various parts of the
Close, often at the Deanery.
One year, the ladies in the Close went raspberry picking
for the reunion lunch which was one of those held in the
Deanery on a balmy day, so everyone ate on the lawn by the
We currently hold our reunion on Advent Eve at 6 pm.
Chris Hamel-Cooke had links with Guildford Cathedral
and so this led to a number of Beer and Skittles challenges
at pubs that lay between Guildford and Chichester.
Since the 1990s when the CCCA expanded it's membership to
include current Chorister Parents, the Beer and Skittles
evening changed to an in house event. We tried out a number
of venues locally before finding the Four Chestnuts in the
Hornet a few years ago, which serves our needs very well.
We usually have around 30 taking part in this event which
has been won in recent years by the parents but we are hopeful
of a past chorister win before too long.
In the 1990s there were a number of changes made to the
Association. Not only was the name changed but the Committee
saw its role as being wider than a forum for past choristers
to meet up and reminisce. The CCCA began to try and support
the current Foundation in a number of ways; we started to
sponsor the Organ Recital when the SCF was at Chichester,
include current chorister parents in re-unions, increase
the merchandise to include a separate Associate members
tie available to non-choristers and cuff links and lapel
badges for ladies. This increased activity led to the setting
up of the Scholarship Trust Fund.
There have been four Chairmen to date:
Richard Cock (1973-1980)
Michael Waterhouse (1980-1990)
Chris Hamel-Cooke (1990-2001)
David Ruffer, the current Chairman (2001- )
Richard Cock (1973-1980) Joint chairman / secretary (Assistant Organist)
Jeremy Suter (1981-1991) (Assistant Organist)
Alan Gurney (1991-1993)
David Gutteridge (1993-2000)
Howard Trundell (2000-2003)
Fiona Bell (2003-2006)
Barbara Willis (2006-2008)
Dily Ruffer (2008-2011)
Dily Ruffer - Events Secreatary (2011- )
Liz Alder - Minutes secretary (2011- )