Who's Who at the Cathedral
Acting Dean Canon Pastor
The Rev'd Dr Philip Hesketh
Philip spent his childhood on the "gem of God's earth", otherwise known as the Isle of Man, and came to the big city in 1983 to study Divinity at King's College, London. Before ordination he worked with the homeless in South London and served his curacy in the Diocese of Canterbury.
As Canon Pastor, Philip has both a pastoral and an educational brief, with particular care and oversight of visitors and pilgrims to the Cathedral. With four young children, he has a special interest in developing the Cathedral's work with young people within the Cathedral context and wider community.
During his time at Rochester he has covered the roles of both Precentor and Dean during an interregnum.
Philip is a Governor of The King's School, Rochester and a Governor and Trustee of Sir Joseph Williamsons' Mathematical School. He is also a Trustee of Kent Aid, a local charity supporting those living with AIDS, and is a member of the Medway Holocaust Memorial Day Committee.
Archdeacon of Rochester
The Venerable Simon Burton-Jones
Simon was born and brought up in Lancashire where much of his family still lives. He holds a degree in law from Emmanuel College, Cambridge and two theology degrees from Nottingham University.
He spent several years prior to ordination working for the Jubilee Centre in Cambridge where he met Julia. They were married in 1989 and have two children in Tim and Helena.
Simon was first ordained in 1993 and has been Vicar of St. Mary’s Church, Bromley and Rector of St. Nicholas Church, Chislehurst. In January 2010 he became the Archdeacon of Rochester and Residentiary Canon of Rochester Cathedral.
He was trustee of both the Jubilee Centre and the Relationships Foundation for ten years.
His only real achievement in life was to get a quote in an all-time book of cricket quotations. He reads widely and loves sport from his slumped position on a sofa, supporting Blackpool FC and Lancashire CCC. He still grieves the ending of TV’s The West Wing and spends an entirely unjustifiable amount of time watching The Simpsons.
Simon is a member of the Bishop's Senior Staff, with a variety of responsibilities across the diocese.
The Rev'd Canon Jean Kerr
Jean was born in Harrow-on-the-Hill, but has spent most of her life "up north". Her early working life was in banking, where she found she was more interested in people than their money! She trained as a teacher in Durham, where she met her husband Paul who was training there for ordination. Jean comes to Cathedral life having spent eight years working in Ministry and Training both as Lay Training Advisor and Warden of Evangelists. She has a passion for rock and roll, creative story telling and seeing people reach their full potential in Christ. Her role as missioner is to help the Cathedral to be continually looking out to where the activity of God's Kingdom can be discerned, and encouraging people to join in it. She is the lead officer for Safeguarding and can be contacted on 07791503123 ans is also Director of Mission Community Engagement for the Diocese.
The Rev'd Neil Thompson
Neil was born and brought up in the south of England in a Scottish family setting, thereby perhaps enjoying the best of all worlds! He studied at Durham and Leicester universities and taught history in a grammar school and sixth form college before ordination. He is married to Ruth and they have three children and nine grandchildren scattered between West Sussex and north Northumberland. He has served in five parishes across the diocese of Southwark and enjoys the creative arts (particularly opera), tennis, walking, reading and many other things including hymn writing! (his website is www.houndofheaven.co.uk)
As Precentor he is ‘the one who sings first’: the member of the Chapter with responsibility for overseeing the cathedral’s ministry of worship in liturgy and music. The daily rhythm of prayer and worship, and the remarkable resources of the cathedral in its musicians and spaces, provide an exciting ministry whereby human lives are caught up in the divine drama. In this context the diocese is served, community life refreshed and theology forged anew.
Canon for Discipleship
Paul was appointed Canon for Discipleship on Sunday September 27th 2015.
He married Audrey in 1973 and they have two grown up children, Edward (married to Connie) and Caroline, and one granddaughter, Ilsa, who is just one year of age. Audrey has worked in the Health Service in various roles ever since she was sixteen and is currently a Health Visitor for Older People and works in Croydon.
Paul was ordained in Rochester Cathedral in 1982 and his ministry has been exercised entirely in the Diocese of Rochester serving as parish priest in a variety of parishes. Linked to parish ministry he has a passion for seeing others grow and flourish in their ministry, both ordained and lay.
There are two main aspects to this the role of Canon for Discipleship - the first is walking alongside people and knowing them and the second is to enable people to know and recognise that God is at work in them. There are affinities with the story of Jacob’s ladder – helping people understand how God has been working in their lives all along when they may not have known it – and thereby encourage them in their discipleship.
Lay Member of Cathedral Chapter
Andrew grew up in Lincolnshire where his father was a Parish Priest. After leaving Grammar School he joined the Civil Service, spending the majority of his career at the Ministry of Defence, where he held a number of appointments. Awarded the OBE for work with the Armed Forces, Andrew is a Fellow of the CIPD, and has attended St Augustine’s, Gillingham for over 30 years. He has served on the PCC, has been churchwarden and is Head Server. Married to Sue, who works in the Cathedral Education Department, his interests, when time in his current appointment at the LSE allows, include travel, reading and fine wine, preferably Carmenere. Sue and Andrew have a daughter, Laura, who lives locally with her partner.
Lay Member of Cathedral Chapter
Barbara grew up in Bickley, Kent. After gaining a degree in English Literature from London University she embarked on a career in the Arts, first at the Barbican Centre, then with a music agency and finally as Publications Manager for the London Symphony Orchestra. Barbara is married to Patrick, a partner in a firm of Patent Attorneys. They have two daughters, both now at university. Barbara regularly attends church in Hildenborough. In past years she has led a Bible Study group for young mothers, a group for older ladies and started up a Babies Club. In the community she has worked in the Oxfam shop, participated in a Befriending scheme and organised the publicity for a local wind band. Her hobbies include art, music and current affairs.
Lay Member of Cathedral Chapter
Paul Hudson was appointed a lay member of the Chapter in October 2010. He is a Commissioner in the national Infrastructure Planning Commission and was appointed chairman of the South East Committee of the Heritage Lottery Fund in April 2010. Until 2009 he was a civil servant in the Department for Communities and Local Government where he was Director of Delivery in the Thames Gateway Executive, having been appointed the Government's Chief Planner in 2006.
Prior to that he was Executive Director of Development and Infrastructure at the South East England Development Agency, Chief Executive of Locate in Kent, City Technical Director of Rochester upon Medway City Council, Divisional Director at the Travers Morgan Consulting Group and held a variety of planning and economic development posts at Kent County Council.
He lives in Maidstone with his wife Jan who is Treasurer of the PCC of St Paul's Maidstone. Their two children are now grown up and both married and they have a recent granddaughter.
Chapter Clerk – Executive Director
Gilly was appointed Chapter Clerk- Executive Director April 2013. Gilly graduated from University College London with a BA in History before joining a City firm and qualifying as a Chartered Accountant. She worked as an accountant in professional firms and in the NHS and was Finance Director of a healthcare company for seven years, overseeing its growth from £5m to £35m turnover. She is now enjoying using her business skills in the Cathedral environment. Gilly is married to Peter, a Maidstone GP, and they have two grown up daughters. Gilly enjoys gardening, singing and reading and loves working at the Cathdral.
Director of Music & Organist
Scott is responsible for all music in Rochester Cathedral, but more specifically for the training and direction of the Boy Choristers. Scott chooses and rehearses all the music for services and looks after the day to day running of the Choir. Scott came to Rochester in 2008, following six years as Director of Music at Newcastle Cathedral and previous appointments at Ely and St Edmundsbury Cathedrals.
Assistant Director of Music & Sub-Organist
Claire is responsible for the training and direction of the Girl Choristers as well as assisting with training the Probationers and playing the organ for services. Claire was a Chorister at St Albans Abbey and then went to Selwyn College Cambridge as Organ Scholar. Claire has held appointments at Winchester College, Magdalen College, Oxford, Peterborough Cathedral and most recently as Assistant Organist at Lincoln Cathedral before joining the staff at the Cathedral.
The Michael James Assistant Sub-Organist
James joined the Liturgy and Music Department in January 2016. His main responsibility is playing the organ for cathedral services, but also assisting in the training and direction of the Cathedral Choir. James has held positions at the Cathedrals of Canterbury, Chelmsford, Llandaff and most recently Newcastle where he held the post of Assistant Director of Music.
Director of the Cathedral Voluntary Choir
The Voluntary Choir was formed in August 2008; many of its members were previously in the Cathedral Special Choir, which sang its last services in July 2008. It is directed by Douglas Henn-Macrae, who is also a Deputy Lay Clerk, having been, until 2008, the Senior Lay Clerk.
The three Choral Scholars are students or recent graduates, who sing for the majority of the Cathedral's Choral Services.
Responsible for day-to-day management of the Cathedral and Precinct. Leads and manages the team of vergers and cleaners. Supervision of maintenance and building projects. Responsible for security of Cathedral and Precinct. Liturgical duties include preparation of the cathedral for services and events; care of vestments, cathedral plate and valuables. Keeping of statutory registers. Member of the Guild of Vergers.
Helen Bradshaw & Sue Gray
Helen & Sue, assisted by a group of volunteers, head the Cathedral’s Education team to deliver the education service to over 17,000 visiting students each year. They are responsible for creating resources, support material and education programmes for the Cathedral.
The Volunteer Manager leads the Volunteer Team who welcome Visitors, offer Guided Tours and support Cathedral Staff in the day to day running of the Cathedral. If you have spare time you are always welcome to contact us with a view to volunteering in this Historic Place.
Lisa oversees the booking process for all services and events apart from school visits.
Tea Rooms Manager
The Tea Rooms are part of Rochester Cathedral Enterprises and Helen is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Tea Rooms and paid and volunteer staff.