WINCHESTER Cathedral has been awash with love when Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day coincided.

People of all ages visited the cathedral to reflect on the meaning of Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.

In the Cathedral Close, visitors have had the opportunity to receive ashes on their forehead informally with ‘Ashes to Go’, the traditional Christian observance of Ash Wednesday.

As well as the traditional services, and under the theme ‘Love is all you need’, prayer stations are available throughout the cathedral as well as the opportunity to speak to someone personally about what the day signifies.

Clergy and other members of the community have also taken on manual roles, observing more closely the monastic roots at the heart of the Cathedral, from polishing brass candlesticks to serving visitors in the Cathedral Refectory!

Visitors have enjoyed impromptu performances of reflective music from oboe, harp and piano at various times during the morning as well as traditional services, including the Solemn Eucharist for Ash Wednesday and Imposition of the Ashes at 5.30pm.

The Very Rev Catherine Ogle, Dean of Winchester, said: “On Ash Wednesday we remember that we are simply human, we all make mistakes and we can ask for forgiveness.

"We can let go of resentment and fear and grow into new life and new love. Faithfully following ancient practice while engaging with contemporary culture is an important part of our calling as a Cathedral, in order that we can be a place and people of transformation, that God might create in us new hearts of love.”