Having ended a long spell as the centrepiece in the Natural History Museum’s Hintze Hall, Dippy was due to cap off a nationwide touring schedule by spending this summer in Norwich Cathedral. While Covid-19 put pay to those plans, the positive news has now emerged that the skeleton cast will be heading east after all.

After completing an extended residency at Rochdale’s Number One Riverside, Dippy’s arrival at Norwich Cathedral will now usher in the New Year rather than the bustling school summer holidays.

Rather than the original East Anglian dates of 11th July to 31st October, Dippy will now be in Norwich between 11th January and 21st March – timing which organisers hope will be safe and unencumbered by any further public health restrictions.

Freya Stannard, head of national programmes at the Natural History Museum, states that both institutions will nevertheless work closely to “respond to ongoing changes for visitor attractions, implementing new measures where needed to create a safe and enjoyable experience for visitors”.

The Dean of Norwich, the Very Revd Jane Hedges, adds: “health and safety continues to be paramount and is the single most important factor in our planning for all events at Norwich Cathedral. We have been awarded Visit Britain’s We’re Good to Go industry standard and consumer mark as recognition that the Cathedral is following Government and public health guidance with regard Covid-19 and has taken all the necessary steps to help ensure people’s safety.”

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The Dean of Norwich with Ploddy the dinosaur puppet © Simon Finlay Photography

Following on from last year’s Helter Skelter installation, which drew attention from across the world, a summer built around Dippy was the Cathedral’s solution to meeting or perhaps even surpassing a stellar 2018 for visitor figures.

Even without Dippy, children will still be able to engage with a series of dinosaur activities throughout the six-week holidays. Ploddy, the Cathedral’s resident dinosaur puppet, will lead a series of trails, a prehistoric picnic and an art competition and exhibition.

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