Stunned parishioners have reacted with astonishment after Chichester Cathedral hierarchy announced an incredible sponsorship deal with High Street budget store Poundland.
Church bosses have given their blessing to the controversial five-year tie-in which is said to be worth £10million per annum. But they refused out of hand a proposal to adorn the historic cathedral spire with a giant Poundland logo.
Poundland’s German CEO Gott Aquid is delighted with the deal. He said: “I fell joyous, though I would have loved to sponsor a stained glass window and fly the Poundland flag atop the spire. But we’re happy overall.”
Yet the deal has flabbergasted church-goers who are said to be “shocked and saddened” that the powers that be would sanction a move that they say “threatens the very sanctity of all that is holy”.
One outraged Chichestrian, who asked not to be named, said: “I am shocked and saddened that the powers that be would sanction this move. It threatens the very sanctity of all that is holy. We are being taken for fools. Fools I tell you!”
The big bucks deal will see a raft of measures aimed at promoting the Poundland brand in and around the medieval cathedral, as of today, April 1. They include:
• Clergy wearing sponsored cassocks during services
• Ending all sermons with the gently sung refrain: “As brought to you by Poundland.”
• Allowing an array of cheap and cheerful goods to be offered for sale in the south transept. All priced at, er, £1.
Despite last-minute protestations from a clutch of Anglican Bishops across the globe, the deal was rubber-stamped at a top secret gathering in city hostelry The Vestry, opposite the cathedral.
The only Bishop to come out in favour of the sponsorship agreement is Dr Lapri Olof, a high ranking church official from Denmark.
He said: “Dette er en vind op sureley? Åh, jeg får det, er det Aril 1 og dine briter har en stor latter, ikke?” (Apologies, our Danish translator is on a sabbatical).