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Gloucester Cathedral wins praise for innovation in quality visitor attraction award

Gloucester Cathedral

Gloucester Cathedral Great Lives has been singled out as “interesting and innovative” in Visit England’s Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Scheme. The Cathedral has been awarded accreditation in the scheme for a ninth year.

The Mystery Shopper report described the visitor experience as “exceptional” and was particularly impressed with the Great Lives audio stories. This new concept in UK heritage tourism uses mobile phone technology to tell the stories of the lives of seven people who are commemorated in the Cathedral. The visitor dials a number on their mobile phone and can choose which story they want to hear. The report commented: “The recordings were very well produced with engaging voices and sound effects.”
Visitors to the Cathedral can now borrow a free mobile phone from the Cathedral shop to listen to “Great Lives”, in exchange for a £5 returnable deposit.

“The feedback from visitors has been excellent,” commented Operations & Marketing Manager Bairbre Lloyd. “We now have five mobile phones available to borrow from the shop so that those on a Pay As You Go tariff or who don’t carry a mobile phone won’t miss out.”
Gloucester Cathedral Great Lives is a pilot scheme run by Cheltenham-based tourism company PastPorte. Founder Ben Blackler had the idea for mobile phone audio guides whilst visiting the Cathedral. His Co-founder, Dinah Lammiman, an ex Radio 4 producer, was responsible for creating the seven stories.     

The seven stories featured in “Gloucester Cathedral Great Lives”

Robert “Curthose”, Duke of Normandy
Robert was William the Conqueror’s eldest son. Why didn’t he inherit the throne from his father, and how did he come to lose out on the English throne not once, but twice?

Edward II – an ineffectual king, forced to abdicate, then imprisoned and brutally murdered in Berkeley Castle in 1327. But is this the true story? Did Edward escape his captors and flee abroad to a very different fate?

Edward Jenner rid the world of the terrifying scourge of smallpox. But it was not for this that he received his highest scientific accolade.

Ivor Gurney was a gifted poet and composer haunted by depression. The Gloucester-born poet wrote some of the most memorable music and poetry of his era. But trauma in war and life gradually wore him down. He found sanctuary in striding out across the hills at night.

The battleship HMS Gloucester was sunk during the invasion of Crete in 1941 losing 723 officers and men. Could this tragedy have been avoided?

The Reverend Stanley “Sam” Davies
was imprisoned in a Korean POW camp after the battle of Imjin River. Find out about his ordeals at the hands of his Chinese captors and how a scrap of toilet paper enabled his story to be told.

The celebrated composer Herbert Howells was touched by a personal tragedy that inspired him to create his masterpiece Hymnus Paridisi.

Dial 0300 900 1327 to listen to the vivid tales of these fascinating lives.

Explore Gloucestershire
31 August 2011

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