In 1897 Queen Victoria achieved her Diamond Jubilee - 60 years as Queen - which the community of Downham Market commemorated with a stained glass window at the west end of St Edmundís Parish Church.
In 2012 present Queen, Elizabeth II, achieved her Diamond Jubilee. Looking ahead, back in 2009 the Rector and Parochial Church Council (PCC) all agreed that, if at all possible, St Edmundís Church should commemorate Her Majestyís long reign in the same way as Queen Victoria's: by a specially-commissioned stained glass window to replace the last remaining plain glass window in the south aisle.
The project took almost 6 years in the planning and execution, guided by the Inspecting Architect to St Edmund's Church, Oliver Caroe of Caroe Architecture, Cambridge, and as honorary consultant Canon Jeremy Haselock, Vice Dean of Norwich Cathedral, a noted authority on church art and glass.
To identify the right artist to make our window, over twenty artists were carefully considered by the PCC. The design brief included the requirements that the design should (a) have its own artistic identity and integrity, whilst also (b) being mindful that it would need to stand alongside the three existing stained glass windows in the south aisle. To achieve these two requirements successfully would be no mean feat.
A short list of two artists was eventually drawn up, both of whom had work in very well known Cathedrals and Churches. In the end, the scrutinising Committee and Parochial Church Council were more than pleased with the design by Helen Robinson AMPG of the Oriel Glass Studio, Hertfordshire.
Our selection of artist and design was not the end of it! After this, the proposed design had to go on to not only the Ely Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC), but also, as a significant new piece of public church art, to the (national) Church Building Council for further scrutinisation, including site meetings and exacting questioning!
After passing through these stages, the proposed design could finally go forward to the Chancellor of the Diocese (who is a High Court Judge) for consideration for the necessary Faculty, the formal planning approval, which was granted without any modification or adjustment (which can sometimes be required by the Chancellor).
The Rector, Churchwardens and Parochial Church Council are very grateful for the generous support of Mrs Jane Kaminsky, without which the execution of this wonderful project could not have been achieved.