New Chairman of Rochester Cathedral Business Guild

John A Spence OBE DL has retired as chairman of the Rochester Cathedral Business Guild after ten years as founder. The Very Revd Dr Philip Hesketh, Dean of Rochester, thanked him at a retirement lunch held in his honour in Chatham Dockyard.  “John Spence has done a wonderful job in engaging local businesses,” the Dean said.  “We are so grateful to him.”

The newly appointed chairman David Ward, who is also the CEO of Ward Security a £35m turnover business that operates from offices on the Chatham Historic Dockyard, is keen to make the most of the opportunity to engage with local businesses both within Rochester and across the Diocese (The Diocese of Rochester stretches as far as Bromley in the North, Westerham in the West and Lamberhurst in the South) as well as to build a strong support network which will provide mutual benefit for businesses and the Cathedral. He has set out his intention to significantly grow the membership of the Guild during 2019 and is looking forward to bringing the same energy and commitment to the role as his predecessor.  

The Business Guild is the link between Rochester’s Cathedral Trust and the local business community.  It was launched in 2007 to provide networking as well as entertaining at the Cathedral. The chairman of Rochester Cathedral Trust, Michael P Aiken, is delighted with David’s appointment and looking forward to both the Trust and the Guild moving forward.

David Ward said “The importance of Rochester Cathedral for our local economy and business community should not be underestimated. While it is a historic venue attracting more than 150,000 visitors annually, it also plays host to over 100 events including graduation ceremonies for three Universities and operates an educational programme benefiting 17,000 school children.  The financial impact to Rochester and the surrounding businesses is evident.  There are shared benefits for both the Cathedral and businesses when they collaborate and support each other.   

“A key role of the Guild during 2019 will be to improve awareness with a wider network of businesses around the benefits of working in partnership with the Cathedral and to ensure expansion of its membership includes new and forward-thinking businesses as well as encompassing entrepreneurs of all sizes.”

Philip Hesketh, Dean of Rochester Cathedral said; 'This is an exciting appointment and we look forward to working closely with someone of David's calibre and in supporting business across Kent'.   

The Rochester Cathedral Business Guild annual membership is £200 and open to all businesses of any size, benefits include regular networking events and the opportunity to hear from key business leaders.   Anyone interested in membership should contact the Cathedral Development Officer Lynne Bax via email or telephone 01634 810074.