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Last Updated: Saturday, 17 May, 2003, 08:24 GMT 09:24 UK
Anger at cathedral charges
Exeter Cathedral
Tourists are the cathedral's main source of income

A number of volunteers have resigned as stewards at a Devon cathedral over a new policy of charging visitors.

An entry fee of 3.50 is being requested as visitors enter Exeter Cathedral's 12th Century building.

In the past, visitors were asked to make a donation to help with the daily running costs of 2,000.

The Very Reverend Keith Jones, Dean of Exeter Cathedral, said: "We have not enough income to run the place. As tourists are our main source of income this is the natural way to do it."

'Very sad'

He added: "In fact, we can't think of another way."

People who came to the cathedral for devotional purposes would still be able to get in free.

The Reverend David Harding, from Exmouth, who has been a volunteer steward for five years, has resigned with some of his fellow stewards.

He said: "You can't in a sense hold out a hand of friendship and with the other be asking for money.

"I think, financially, it's a disaster. I don't think it'll succeed. And as for its moral affect on the cathedral, it's very sad indeed."

Every year around 500,000 people visit the cathedral - which dates from 1114, making it Exeter's most popular visitor attraction.

Admission fees

Another South West cathedral is also considering charging visitors.

Truro Cathedral, which is more than 60,000 in the red, has appointed a chief executive to help balance the books.

About 10% of English cathedrals already have an admission fee.

Lincoln Cathedral charges 3.50 and Canterbury Cathedral charges 4.

St Paul's Cathedral and Westminster Abbey both charge 6 for entry.

Cathedral seeks chief executive
03 May 03  |  Cornwall
Cathedral may charge for visits
27 Dec 02  |  England

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