Magna Carta celebrations to 'put Salisbury centre stage'

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THE Magna Carta is 800 years old in 2015, and plans are underway to ensure Salisbury is at the centre of celebrations, locally, nationally and internationally.

The city is home to one of only four surviving original copies of the iconic document and the team at Salisbury Cathedral, where the document is housed, are working on ways to make sure Salisbury is “right at the heart of this celebration”.

David Coulthard, marketing and communications director at the cathedral, gave a presentation to Salisbury City Council this week asking for its support to make sure the event has a positive economic and community impact on the city.

He said Salisbury has the finest exemplar of the four original copies of the Magna Carta, and “the eyes of the world will be on Salisbury Cathedral in 2015”.

“Most people have heard of it but a lot of people can’t make head or tail of it. We’ve got a really important role to educate people about the Magna Carta. “We want to conserve it for future generations and give people greater understanding by engaging with lots of different audiences. We really want to make a difference.”

Mr Coulthard said the aim is to hold an exhibition and look at re-presenting the document as it’s possible there are better ways to show it that would excite and engage the local community and visitors more, introducing new multi-media elements to make it more accessible and educational.

There is a committee, chaired by former Salisbury MP Robert Key, leading the work on the celebratory events, which will include a family-focused medieval fair and a community pageant. There will also be a gala concert in the cathedral, a celebratory Eucharist and Magna Flora, a special flower festival.

The cathedral is planning funding bids through the Landfill Tax Credit funds and the Heritage Lottery Fund, but Mr Coulthard said they need the support of partners and donors to help make the event as good as it can be.

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