Our people

There are many people involved in ensuring that our church runs smoothly, but below are some of those you are likely to encounter when visiting us.

  • Alec Harding

    Alec Harding

    Vicar

  • Sarah Cliff

    Sarah Cliff

    Curate

  • Astley Fenwick

    Astley Fenwick

    Church Reader

  • David Walker

    David Walker

    Church Reader

  • David Blakely

    David Blakely

    Reader Emeritus

  • Director of Music

    Annette Butters

    Organist and Director of Music

  • Sandra Sumner

    Sandra Sumner

    Churchwarden

  • Bob Ward

    Bob Ward

    Churchwarden

  • Beverley Pilcher

    Beverley Pilcher

    Safeguarding Officer

Alec Harding

Vicar

I am married to Kim and we have four children. Originally from Hereford I studied for a degree in music at St. Andrew’s University before moving to London for further study alongside working in a large central London church.

I trained to be ordained at Cranmer Hall in Durham (where I met Kim) and I was ordained in 1989. I was curate in Thirsk in York diocese before spending 6 years in my home town in a large urban Team Ministry. The family moved to Barnard Castle in 2000 and we love this place! I am the Area Dean of Barnard Castle and became an Honorary Canon of the Cathedral in 2011.

Sarah Cliff

Curate

Hi, I’m Sarah and I serve as a curate to the people of Barnard Castle and surrounding area. I was born and brought up in Darlington just down the road. I do not come from a church family but around the age of 11 I was aware of God’s presence and took myself off to my nearest church to find out more.

I found myself in my local parish church and there I was nurtured and grown in faith. Back then the ordination of women was not possible, and God’s call on me came later in life; first to Reader ministry and then ever louder until I gave in and started to discern a call to ordained ministry. I trained at Cranmer Hall in Durham and was ordained deacon in 2019 by the Bishop in his cathedral in Durham.

Due to the pandemic I was priested here at St Mary’s with Alec and the Archdeacon doing their best to keep a good distance. The picture will always remind me of what strange times it has been.

Picture courtesy of Keith Blundy

Together with the gifts and talents of all the congregation I hope to show that Jesus is the way the truth and the life to people who do not yet know the fullness of Him. I am definitely not a morning person, so it takes me a while to throw off the covers but after a cup of tea I am raring to go and my love of life and the wonderful creation we have been given by God sets me up for the day.

Astley Fenwick

Church Reader

My working life has mainly been in electrical engineering but lately I have been attracted to energy management and looking for ways to preserve energy. All energy is derived from the earth which is given to us from God and I feel it is our moral duty to look after this finite source.

I’m married to Miriam and we have one daughter who lives and works in London for a children’s charity. Both the ‘girls’ continue to support me in my mission as a Reader which I have been doing for ten years.

David Walker

Church Reader

Born in Darlington, I live in Cotherstone, married to a priest (Judith), with four grown-up children. I am a public sector accountant, mostly working as Principal Lecturer in accountancy and management at New College Durham and then for the last fifteen years in my own business. I am now retired. I was licensed as a Reader in 2014 and am studying for a degree in Theology and Ministry.

David Blakely

Reader Emeritus

I was admitted as a Reader in the Diocese of Gloucester in 1975 and have been licensed in the Diocese of Durham since 1988. I taught mathematics at Barnard Castle School before retiring in 2001. I retired from active ministry at the end of 2014 and am now a Reader Emeritus.

Annette Butters

Organist and Director of Music

Sandra Sumner

Churchwarden

Bob Ward

Churchwarden

Beverley Pilcher

Safeguarding Officer

The Church of England is committed to safeguarding as an integral part of the life and service of the church. Beverley Pilcher is the Parish Safeguarding Officer for the Ecclesiastical Parish of Barnard Castle with Whorlton and can be contacted at 01833 690663 / bpilcher@talk21.com

Get in touch

If you have a question about any aspect of the work of the church you can contact us by phone, email or reach out on Facebook and we will do our best to help.