31 Jul 2018

The Valletta Skyline Ball - An Outstanding Success

Nearly 200 happy people wined, dined and danced the night away at the ‘Skyline Ball’ in the magical setting of Palazzo Parisio’s gardens in Naxxar on Friday 20th July. They were all there to support the Valletta Skyline Appeal for the restoration of St Paul’s Anglican Pro-Cathedral.

The great and the good, young and old, from Malta, the UK, Europe – all had a fantastic time.  “Absolutely brilliant party and a huge financial success” was one of many comments received by the organising committee.

The Noble Marchesino Daniel de Petri Testaferrata did a superb job auctioning some spectacular items, which included a lovely painting of the Valletta Skyline by Mary de Piro, three watercolours of Malta by Janet Treloar, a well-known water colourist, a week in Antigua, a w/e in Budapest and many more, – raising €12,450. An Envelope Draw, with wonderful prizes, organised by Lady Laing and Felicity Dix contributed an additional €3,569.

“Generous sponsorship from the Farsons Group, who provided all the drinks for the evening; the Baroness of Tabria who gave us the venue; and an anonymous donor who sponsored the ‘Versatile Brass’ band enabled us to make a total of over €32,700 for the Appeal - an outstanding amount for an event of this kind”, said Joanna Oswin, Co Chairman of the Ball Committee.

The Cathedral is situated at the epicentre of the Maltese government’s regeneration plans for the West flank of Valletta between Lower Fort St Elmo and Mattia Preti Square. Major regeneration work will also include the restoration of the roof and ceiling to its former Victorian glory, the timber structure inside the tower, installation of disabled access to the church and Undercroft, as well as several ecological environmental improvements.

Martin Scicluna, co-chairman of the Save Valletta Skyline Appeal, has said: “The project to restore the Cathedral aims to contribute significantly to the regeneration of the area by turning it into a thriving and attractive communal and tourism centre.

“It seeks to be the social hub not just for the Cathedral’s congregation, but also for the local community, related groups and third party users for a range of activities from musical concerts to meetings and exhibitions, lectures and seminars.”

The 175-year-old Pro-Cathedral has deteriorated dramatically in recent years. Various interventions have taken place to repair the roof, but urgent restoration is now required, while the new structure will also re-establish the authenticity of the roof assembly to bring it closer to its former historical state.

Recent investigations have also revealed that the Cathedral’s tower was struck by a bomb or shell during World War II, which in all likelihood affected the structural integrity of the tower and spire. These will be painstakingly repaired and restored.

Work is expected to start on the internal scaffolding of the tower in late-summer and safety hoarding will be put in place shortly. Meanwhile, the external scaffolding around the tower will be erected early next year.