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Opening times

  • Sunday
    Check What’s On for details
  • Monday to Friday
    Check What’s On for details
  • Saturdays and Bank Holidays
    Check What’s On for details
  • FREE ENTRY

Celebrating Our Volunteers – Brian

As part of National Volunteers’ Week, 1-7 June 2020, we are celebrating our amazing volunteers and saying a huge thank you to them for the invaluable contributions that they make to Newcastle Cathedral.

Brian’s Story

Here we shine a spotlight on Brian, a Volunteer Chaplain at the Cathedral, as he shares a little about himself…

Describe your best weekend

My best weekend is often one that is not planned in too much detail. Spontaneity matters because it means I avoid routine. Saturdays were always stolen by work – Assistant Director of Education for the Dioceses of Newcastle and Durham and Education Inspector. Now, to enjoy some simple food in the company of friends, laughter and having fun, are the things I cherish most – that, and having some ‘me’ time. And one more thing – Sunday is not Sunday without… Sunday roast! Bet you thought I was going to say something far more faith based!

Tell us about a memorable holiday / event

Janet (my wife) and I booked a holiday on Lanzarote a while back. We dared each other to take a trip on a yellow submarine – mainly because we liked the Beatles song of the same name. The advertisement said, ‘Sub Fun’. It wasn’t – for me, at least! Janet was fascinated; I was petrified, especially when I could see trickles of water running down the insides of the pressure hull! However, I endured the trauma and I’m now the owner of a ‘Dive Certificate’ signed by the Captain. I did manage to smile for the obligatory photograph as we disembarked. The picture is in the bottom of our picture drawer – “down at the bottom of the deep blue sea”.

Post-COVID-19, if you could be whisked away to anywhere for 2 dream days where would you go?

The ICEHOTEL in Sweden to hopefully be mesmerised by a spellbinding celestial light show by night and to explore the art exhibitions with ever-changing pieces made out of ice and snow by day. I wonder if sitting on an ice chair would help shrink my occasional painful afflictions?

Have you tried any new foods or perfected any recipes during lockdown?

We have begun to go through our old recipe books and currently have Farmhouse Kitchen (based on the Yorkshire Television series in the mid 70’s), open at Date and Walnut Loaf. Now the thing is, we are hooked, and have not been able to move past page 93 for several weeks! The good old days – eaten cold, sliced, and buttered, with a hot cuppa. Perfected? Maybe. Just another six to eight weekly bakes should get us there.

Have you got any new hobbies you’ve picked up during lockdown?

Cutting hair, though the mirror, my wife and my elderly mother may not agree! It is addictive once you start. Knowing when to stop is key, plus having a good styling product to cement everything in place that you have cut a tad too short.

What’s the first thing you’ll do when COVID-19 is over?

Say a thank you prayer, then hug, hug, hug the people and family I love so much. I’ll have a cuppa, a good old natter and pray in the same room with those I regularly take home communion to. That thought fills my heart with joy.

How long have you volunteered at the Cathedral / what is your role / what made you choose to volunteer with us?

I’ve been a volunteer for 6 years. I’m a duty chaplain and a Lay Canon. When I was appointed to the College of Canons, rather than simply hold the title, I wanted to offer something on a regular basis which contributed to the life, ministry and outreach of the Cathedral, both to its members and to the city. I believe my role is Spirit driven, and in a way that was confirmed when my first five-year tenure of office came to a close and Bishop Christine invited me to serve another period.

How would others at the Cathedral describe you?

Faithful, prayerful, and a stone in the shoe!


Why Volunteer?

Volunteering is a fulfilling way to give back to the community and, as well as helping others, volunteering has been shown to improve volunteers’ wellbeing and makes you feel great in return too!

It’s human nature to feel good after helping someone out. Volunteering can also help you gain valuable new skills and experiences, and boost your confidence.

If you have been inspired and are interested in becoming a volunteer at Newcastle Cathedral, please get in touch with our Project Manager, Lindy Gilliland, by email to find out how to get started.

Want to read more volunteering stories to inspire you? Click here.