Millennium prize winner derides `sickening hype'

ORGANISERS OF the St Paul's Cathedral hymn for the millennium competition were probably thrilled when they heard their winner was the aptly named Hilary Jolly. Yesterday, at the prize-giving, their joy must have seemed a little premature as she lambasted all aspects of the celebrations.

Given the choice, Mrs Jolly, 52, would have ignored the arrival of the year 2000. She was "sickened by millennium hype", which she described as "pagan and most unpleasant".

Her parish priest persuaded her to compose a hymn for the millennium. "As he put it, `If the millennium is going to be celebrated, we should claim it for Jesus Christ'," she said, adding: "And that's about as positive as I can feel about the millennium, quite frankly."

Speaking in St Faith's Chapel, in the crypt of St Paul's, Mrs Jolly, from Cambridge, elaborated on what she meant by pagan hype. "Dare I say it: the Dome, and a lot of other things besides." At this point the Dean of St Paul's, the Very Rev John Moses, was concerned that what was supposed to be a happy occasion was taking a bitter turn. "In this cathedral, let's be quite clear what dome she means," he said, trying to leaven the mood.

But Mrs Jolly had the bit between her teeth. "The other Dome, the lesser Dome," she railed. "I think it's a temple to Man ... I particularly dislike the fact that it seems to have as the centre-piece a giant human figure. The millennium is not about Man, it's about God."

Mrs Jolly's hymn, chosen from 444 entries, is set to music by Paul Bryan, director of music at St John's College School, Cambridge. His entry beat 309 other tunes.

Mrs Jolly, who has two children, heard the combination of words and music for the first time yesterday. She was thrilled. "I was expecting, in rather a cynical way, something much more upbeat. I'm happy, because it's dignified."

The hymn will be sung at the national millennium service at St Paul's on 2 January 2000 and in churches across the country throughout next year. The organisers of the competition hope it will find its way into mainstream hymn books.

Asked if she had plans for New Year's Eve 1999, Mrs Jolly said: "I will go to bed, as I always do, at about 8.30pm and get up, as I always do, at about 5.30am."

The Hymn For 2000

First and last verses of the winning hymn, ``Through the Darkness of the Ages". Words by Hilary Jolly.

Music by Paul Bryan.

Through the darkness of the ages,

Through the sorrows of the days,

Strength of weary generations,

Lifting hearts in hope and praise,

Light in darkness, joy in sorrow,

Presence to allay all fears,

Jesus, you have kept your promise,

Faithful through two thousand years.

Master, we shall sing your praises,

Man of sorrows, God of power,

For the measured march of seasons

Shall at last bring in the hour

When, as lightning leaps the heavens,

You return to lead us


You have promised, "I am coming".

Swiftly, our Lord Jesus, come.

Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
Life and Style
food + drink
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Arts and Entertainment
A still from Duncan Campbell's hour-long film 'It for Others'
Turner Prize 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hadley in a scene from ‘Soul Boys Of The Western World’
musicSpandau Ballet are back together - on stage and screen
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Ed Stoppard as Brian Epstein, Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Elliott Cowan as George Martin in 'Cilla'
tvCilla review: A poignant ending to mini-series
Life and Style
Bearing up: Sebastian Flyte with his teddy Aloysius in Brideshead Revisited
lifePhilippa Perry explains why a third of students take a bear to uni
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Alan Sugar appearing in a shot from Apprentice which was used in a Cassette Boy mashup
artsA judge will rule if pieces are funny enough to be classed as parodies
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Trust Accountant - Kent

NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...

Geography Teacher

£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: randstad education are curre...

Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: You must:- Speak English as a first lang...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Randstad Education Group: If you are a committed Te...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style