Chichester Cathedral Choristers' Association
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History of the CCCA

Patron: The Lord Bishop of Chichester.
President: The Dean of Chichester.
Vice Presidents: Richard Cock Esq.
Dr. Alan J. Thurlow
Jeremy L. Suter Esq.
Hon. Chaplain: Rev'd David Burton Evans

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The Origins of the CCCA
Richard Cock, former chorister, lay vicar and Assistant Organist.
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 without success.

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 Villiers.

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.

CCCA - a vague history

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 before Christmas.

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 Birch’s (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 Ha Ha.
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 member’s 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 five Chairmen to date:

Richard Cock (1973-1980)
Michael Waterhouse (1980-1990)
Chris Hamel-Cooke (1990-2001)
David Ruffer (2001-2017)
John Attwater, the current Chairman (2017- )

Honorary Secretaries:

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 (2011-2017 )
Liz Alder - Minutes secretary (2011-2015 )

Ros Craven (2017-....)