For over 16 years, on World AIDS Day we have had permission to display The North Yorkshire AIDS Memorial Quilt inside York Minster and the Red Ribbon Flag has been flown from the flagpole. Some pictures from previous years show the flag and the quilt with the Book of Remembrance:

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……sadly this year I received the following email from York Minster :-

Dear NYAA,

I’ve actually just had the decision so was popping into my inbox to get in touch with you. I’m afraid this year it won’t be possible to fly the flag or the display the quilt. I appreciate that this will be disappointing to you and hope that explaining the reasons why might help?

The decision in no way seeks to diminish the work that you are doing in North Yorkshire or the wider issues around AIDS worldwide. What it actually comes down to is our need to reflect on what causes we are able to support in terms of the resources we use, the messages we give and the commitment we make to the charities we work with and that means making difficult decisions about things we have done as routine year on year. Essentially what this means is we’d like to do a little bit less, but with more focus and attention. For example, we made a decision last year not to accept requests to light up York Minster as if we accepted them all we’d be a different colour each week and that would be quite a task for a small team. We also weren’t in a position to decide which charity to support over another – and flying a flag comes under the same principle. There is national guidance for Cathedrals for liturgical reasons why we might fly a flag and we now seek to follow that and so cannot accept requests from other organisations to fly their flag, however much we may personally support the cause. The work we’re doing at the moment is to look at developing our charity partnerships over the next couple of years, and so may I suggest that you try to speak with Canon Michael Smith ( who is leading this at an early point of the new year so that you can look at the options for 2015? The feedback I got from the management team was that actually if we were to do something in the future, something more involved might well be received better than repeating the same display each year. It’s worth bearing in mind that world aids day is always going to fall near Advent Sunday (4 Sundays before 25 December) which is the start of the new Christian year. So we will also need to balance any request for display or activity, in terms of how much physical, spiritual and staffing resources required, with the need to prepare for the Advent Procession which is such an important service in our calendar.

It’s not all bad news, and we are keen to show support in a way which is very relevant to York Minster. We will keep world AIDS day in our prayers and the clergy will include this in the daily prayers read out at evening prayer, to which you and all others would be most welcome – it takes place at 5.15pm and is a said service on 1st December.

With best wishes,


We here at NYAA are very disappointed that we will not be able to display the Quilt or fly the flag from York Minster this year and we apologise for the short notice we have been given. I know quite a few people make plans to visit York each year to go to The Minster, view the Quilt and sign the Remembrance Book. We are looking for another suitable venue and will put details up if something else can be arranged for this year. Looking forward….it may be a good time to arrange to show the North Yorkshire AIDS Memorial Quilt at different venues around the County ….please let us have your views. You are welcome to come and speak to us in person, phone in, write in or leave a message here on the website on the Contact Us page.