Blackburn Cathedral interior

Annual Conference 2020 – Postponed due to Coronavirus

Unfortunately the Conference has been postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic

Dear Hymn Society Members,

It is with considerable regret that I have to notify you of the cancellation of our 2020 Hymn Society Leyland Conference. This was to have taken place from 14th– 17th July 2020; it is yet another casualty of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).  However, having considered all aspects, the Officers have concluded, given that the situation is so entirely uncertain, and at present deteriorating, and with many of our Conference attendees being within the ‘over 70s’ and vulnerable’ categories, that it was really the only sensible and responsible course of action to take.  It does seem that the situation is likely to continue both within the UK and elsewhere for a good many months yet, if not for the rest of the year.

The decision had to be taken now in order to mitigate our contractual responsibilities with the  hotel who have, it has to be said, been extremely helpful and understanding.

Our present intention is to hold our next Conference, still at Leyland and with the Festival of Hymns in Blackburn Cathedral, from Tuesday, 20th – Friday, 23rd July 2021. Do, please, pencil a note in the back of your current diaries. We will certainly hope that by then everything will have settled down and that it will be possible to meet.

Deposits for bookings which have already been made, of which there are a good number, will of course be refunded.

I will conclude with a thought shared by one of our members who would have been contributing to this year’s Conference: ‘In the meantime, we shall go on singing, praying, and remembering each other, in our own homes.’

We hope that you all keep as well as possible and wish you every Blessing,

Robert A. Canham
Secretary, The Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland

14th July – 17th July 2020

Hallmark Hotel
Leyland Way, Leyland
PR25 4JX

Our 2020 three-day Conference will be held at the Hallmark Hotel, Leyland, which is conveniently situated less than two minutes’ drive from junction 28 of the M6 and 800 metres from the local train station which has regular services connecting from Wigan and Preston. It is a high-quality modern hotel well-suited to our needs and is also home to an antiquarian fire engine! Our member, Nicholas Markwell’s personal guidance on Public Transport options is again available: Please see the Booking Form PDF (click on the text)for more information.


Conference is from Tues. 14th July (Registration from 2.00 pm) to lunchtime Fri. 17th July. Most of the rooms, all en-suite, involve a short flight of stairs. The few on the ground floor are only for those who need it. The Conference Pack with the Programme, a list of those attending, and other papers, will be sent out early July. Our Chaplain will be Revd Dr Graham Deans. The Festival of Hymns, is in Blackburn Cathedral: Commentator, Adam Carlill; Organist, John Kitchen; Conductor, Sue Gilmurray.

Conference Speakers include

Gordon Taylor: The Life and Times of William Booth: Methodism, Music and Ministry
Janet Wootton: Hymns for a Promised Land (reflections on the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower Pilgrims)
Andrew Pratt: Touching the Void – hymns and trauma (and the gap between author and congregation)
June Boyce-Tillman: Enlivening Faith – Spirituality, Theology and Music
Daniel Johnson: Isaac Watts
Martin Leckebusch: Towards a Core Hymnody: Our Hundred Best Hymns?
Ian Sharp: Holier than thou? How sacred is the church’s song?

The programme will include Sectionals (30 mins) and a Short Metre session (10 mins): The Secretary would welcome offers. There will also be a Workshop session.


The cost for residents is £290.00 Non-Members will be charged £310.00 but receive 12 months membership of the Society. The cost for day-visitors for the full conference is £170.00, charged pro-rata according to length of stay and events on each day (see back page of form). Accommodation for additional nights either side of the conference is available: Bed and Breakfast £69.00 (single) / £79.00 (couple). Dinner is available and may be purchased individually in the bar or dining area. There are other eating places in Leyland. When booking, please state all your requirements clearly.


A limited number of bursaries are available for those who would otherwise find it difficult or impossible to attend. The Secretary can provide further information. Applications for bursaries should be made to the Secretary by 15th April.


To register, please send a non-returnable deposit of £60.00 by 30th April. You must pay the balance by 31st May. Cheques should be made payable to ‘The Hymn Society’.

Please see the Booking Form PDF (click on the text) for more information.


Hallmark Hotel Leyland