WORCESTER Cathedral is set to close over the weekend for a major emergency service training exercise.

On Sunday, November 6, Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service will be carrying out one of its biggest training exercises in recent years, using the Cathedral as a venue. 

The fire service will be planning a dry run of a portable, high-volume water pump which will draw water from the River Severn up to the Cathedral. 

The Cathedral will be closed for general visiting on this day, but services (at 8am, 10.30am, 4pm and 6.30pm) will take place as normal. 

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Adrian Farmer, district commander of HWFRS’ South District, said: “Around 10 fire engines and crews from Worcester, Pershore, Malvern, Upton-upon-Severn, Evesham, Pebworth and Broadway Fire Stations will be taking part in the exercise.”

“Careful planning means that our emergency fire and rescue response capabilities will remain at normal levels throughout the day for the safety of all communities in Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

“People visiting the city of Worcester on November 6 should, however, be aware that there will be some road closures and local traffic disruption while the exercise is taking place.”

Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service will also help the Cathedral in actioning its salvage plan in the event of a major incident.

As one of the biggest and most historic major landmarks in Worcestershire, necessary planning for major incidents is essential.

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The very reverend Peter Atkinson, dean of Worcester, said: “It is very important for historic landmarks like the Cathedral to be prepared for all eventualities.

"The Cathedral and its famous Library house very important books and archives (some of them Saxon), as well as other historic artefacts, portraits, and monuments (including two royal tombs).

“It is obviously our hope that the training carried out as part of this exercise will never need to be put into practice, but it is equally important that we prepare for any such incidents and ensure that we protect our visitors, staff and the important historical items in our care.

“We are extremely happy to provide a venue to assist the fire service in its training in the use of the high-volume water pumps, as the closest major building to the River Severn, which could one day prove vital should a major incident occur.”