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Return to main page From The Times - Wednesday 23 May 2001  
   
 
 
 
WEDNESDAY MAY 23 2001
Diana memorabilia to rescue Abbey
BY FRAN LITTLEWOOD AND ADAM SHERWIN
THE sound of cash tills will echo through Westminster Abbey when a range of Abbey-brand items commemorating Royal weddings, coronations and the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, go on sale.

A team of marketing consultants, called in by the Dean, has recommended the sale of exclusive T-shirts, mugs and Post-it notes. The Heritage Collection will also be sold on the Internet, and the Abbey will go “on tour” with a worldwide exhibition of its artefacts, expected to begin in the United States. Visitors will be guided to a merchandising stand offering Abbey porcelain plates and posters.

International Management Network (IMN), which markets the World Cup, has promised to take the Abbey into a new era. Its ideas have been enthusiastically endorsed by Abbey staff.

Trevor Walker, director of IMN, said: “We are looking at items which would commemorate the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, but we don’t want to capitalise on funerals. There is a living heritage to celebrate too.”

The Abbey, which does not receive church or public funding, needs to raise £9 million each year to cover its running costs. The merchandising campaign is seen as the best way to attract new visitors.

David Burden, Receiver General of the Abbey and chairman of Westminster Abbey Enterprises, said: “We felt that we needed to have a strategy that improved on the Abbey as a brand of selling higher-quality goods.”

More than 1.25 million tourists visit the Abbey each year, but the money raised from entrance fees covers only 70 per cent of the running costs.

Copyright 2001 Times Newspapers Ltd. This service is provided on Times Newspapers' standard terms and conditions. To inquire about a licence to reproduce material from The Times, visit the Syndication website.
   
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