Meet Dom Gavan, head chorister of St Mary and All Saints, Chesterfield.

Chesterfield Parish Church (The Crooked Spire) has had an excellent repertoire of music since its dedication in 1234, and has upheld a sustainable and large choir for much of this time.

From huge concerts with the Philharmonic Choir to small, midweek services, the music has been nothing but exquisite and I have been fortunate to be a part of it for some six years, and have been Head Chorister since 2016. 

Sunday - Palm Sunday
Alarm at 7.00am, up, dressed, teeth, hair, church! Got to church, Cassock on, warm up, and sing. Setting today was Communion Service in A minor (Darke), and Christus Factus Est (Felice Anerio) as the communion motet. Went well, started outside with blessing of Palms and thankfully it wasn’t raining. I have a solo tonight so ultra-important I don’t get a cold! Sunday lunch with the Family, and back to church for Evensong. 

Went to church at 11am to help run the gift shop, stuck around until 2pm. Went home and chilled. Back to Church at 6pm for a choir practice. Many composers later, its time to go home. Bath and Bed, how cosy.

My only day off this week - Tidied my room, did my ironing for the week, looked through my music, practiced my organ pieces, and ate. Not much to say today.

Stressful day today - Picked up my cassock from the dry cleaners, washed my surplus, and then off for a coffee with my Mum, had a nice chat and then home for an extensive music practice for this week’s services. The pressure builds…

Thursday (Maundy Thursday)
Busy day today. Off to church at 10am to help out, sold some gifts! Back to church at 7am for the Last Supper mass with lots of music and a very atmospheric singing of Psalm 88 in the dark! The service ended with the watch until midnight, which was only spoiled by a dance show down the road. 

Friday (Good Friday)
The Good Friday afternoon liturgy began at 3pm. I caught a glimpse of the procession of witness as I walked from my bus to the Church for rehearsal. Music today was demanding at times, but fitting for Good Friday:  O Vos Omnes (Pablo Casals); Crux Fidelis (Plainsong); Popule Meus (Victoria) and Psalm 22 to my favourite Anglican Chant.

Saturday (Holy Saturday)
A very busy day today, with too much to do and not a lot of time to do it. I helped the vergers prepare all the altars for Easter. Some altars took more time than others. Once the altars were finished, it was time for breakfast - nothing beats a Pain Au Chocolat and coffee at 10am on a Saturday! Many coffees later, the church was fully furnished and ready for the Easter Vigil mass at 8.30pm. Home, bath, new set of clothes, and then back to church. After the service, the vicar invited the congregation to champagne and chocolate. I was too tired, so went home to bed.

Sunday (Easter Sunday)
Up early to get the first dibs on easter eggs! The church looked so wonderfully radiant in the glorious sunshine. The morning service was rounded off by the choristers pelting an assortment of Crème and Caramel eggs at the congregation, making sure to include the Vicar and Servers! Enjoyed the famous ‘Easter Lamb Dinner’ at my Nana’s house, filling me up ready for the evening of singing ahead. The clock in my house struck 5.30pm, meaning it was time for the last service of the term. The music this evening was magnificent, as well as being very nerve racking for the soloists. We sang Blair in B minor, and the anthem was Haec Dies, an 8-part anthem sung in canon between 2 sides, which really literally raised the roof. After the service, I went straight to bed for a nice long sleep, I had no energy to go on.

>> See Also: The Crooked Spire

 crooked spire 6106 HDR LR 2 webres

The Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Libby Lane, and the Bishop of Repton, the Rt Revd Jan McFarlane, have said those affected by the partial collapse of the Toddbrook Reservoir dam will be in the prayers of the whole Diocese.

Bishop Libby said:

"Our prayers continue for all those affected by the risk of collapse of Toddbrook Reservoir Dam. We pray for those evacuated from their homes, the community of Whaley Bridge, the Emergency Services and all those working tirelessly to prevent collapse and avert the danger.

"The evacuation prompted a sense of community and care that has been wonderful to see. Those displaced from Whaley Bridge have been met with hospitality and generosity, from Chapel-en-le-Frith and beyond. People of all faiths and none have come together, in partnership with statutory providers, with practical and emotional support. We honour those who have been working, despite the risks involved, to keep the people of Whaley Bridge safe.

"We are conscious of the effect this situation must have had on all those impacted and involved. So, as we hope the danger passes and longer term solutions are found, as people return to their homes and businesses, we continue to offer our support with compassion and hope."


See more:

>> Derbyshire Times live updates

>> BBC News report

>> Sky News report

Edale’s Peak Centre is a haven for youngsters to enjoy outdoor learning – but all ages, and all faiths, are welcome.

Whilst many of the parishes in the Diocese spend time trying to get people IN, there is one that focuses on trying to get them OUT – out into the great outdoors to enjoy some of the fantastic scenery and open spaces Derbyshire has to offer.

The Peak Centre in Edale is a unique resource in the Diocese, offering outdoor education to people of all faiths and all backgrounds, an opportunity to enjoy the village, the landscape and to escape some of the stresses and troubles they have in their lives.

It caters mainly for primary school children and offers residential stays and day group activities.

>> Join our Edale walk

Hence the emphasis, according to Manager Ben Acty and his team of five, is on having a good time: “I’d like to think that the main thing they get out of being here is fun!” Said Ben.

“We want to provide a fun, safe place for them to enjoy. From that, if they can learn or get the inspiration to continue to explore the outside world around them – hopefully realise that there is life beyond their phone and TV screens – if we can start that journey for them, then that’s a big win.”

Ben Acty outside the Peak Centre

Peak Centre manager Ben Acty said the centre aims to help youngsters become good citizens and decent human beings

Typical of the activities they might do at the centre are climbing (the centre has a fantastic indoor climbing wall), archery, walking, pond dipping – all sorts of things that help them enjoy the natural world.

Not all activities are done at the center, though: walking takes place in the Edale valley, Mam Tor and sometimes around Kinder Scout, and there is plenty of outdoor climbing to be done too at the Peak District’s natural rock formations, such as Stanage Edge.

Reaching new heights

And not all the people using the centre are schoolchildren.

Ben said: “The Peak Centre welcomes youth groups and other organisations, and adults. You can often see a real sense of achievement – some people conquer their fear of heights, for example, so to get them on a climb and see their joy on reaching the top is really rewarding.

“We also have a large orienteering site around Kinder so we can do a full day at that, exploring the skills of navigating.”

Ben has been manager of the centre for just under a year. His father was a United Reformed Church minister who helped set up a group to provide outdoor education, so Ben is no stranger to this environment.

Faith is also a part of the ethos at the Peak Centre – though Ben is keen to point out that it isn’t compulsory, and no-one is ever forced to join in any faith-based activity.

“We have resources here for them to use and you will see symbols, such as the cross, around. Quite often the youngsters are inquisitive and will want to know more and read some of the books we have. We encourage them to ask questions if they want to and we have a number of prayer spaces.

“We also have retreat days, more structured events where we introduce children to different ways of worship and praying – ways that they probably haven’t thought about before.”

“But in all of the activities we do, the values we work by would be considered to be the values of being a Christian – or any other faith - respect, teamwork, trust etc. Ultimately, we want to encourage them to be good citizens – good and decent human beings.”

peak centre activity abseil 0834 1500 72

Abseiling is one of the many outdoor activities organised by the Peak Centre

Golden years

This year, the Peak Centre will have been encouraging that ethos for 50 years – since John Champion of Edale donated a barn to be used to allow youngsters to learn in the outdoors.

The core messages and values are the same as they have always been – though the teaching methods and activities are a little more modern.

Celebrations to mark the anniversary are being held over the weekend of 13 and 14 July – and you are invited!

Ben said: “We’re having an open day on the Saturday and we’ll be open for anyone to come in to see the centre and what we have to offer. We’ll have bush craft sessions, climbing sessions, archery and orienteering. Some of our groups will be here… some of whom have been coming here for many, many years.

“And as Edale school also celebrates its 200th anniversary this year, so the school will be sharing some of the celebrations. We’ll have worship too, of course.

“On the Sunday, we’ll have a special service at the church and inviting the local community to come and see the centre for themselves.”

Ben is keen that local communities should be able to use the centre more – maybe for group activities – and is keen to hear ideas how they would like to make use of the facilities.

“We’ve had an incredible 50 years in which we have become a unique little spot in the Peak District. I want us to grow more while retaining the charm that makes this centre special. We will continue to offer outdoor learning opportunities.

“What I want to do more of is to offer safe, secure environment to people from areas that don’t have access to nature – to introduce them to this quiet place where they can come and get away from the stresses of daily life, eg inner cities.

“That could make a real difference.”

Centre facts:

Running costs: around £120,000 p.a. as a self-funded charity

Capacity: max 60 residential guests | up to 100 in day groups

For more information, please visit or call 01433 670254

peak centre edale archery

St Augustine's Church, in the parish of Walbrook Epiphany, has presented three Derby schools with a range of Christian books.

The Very Revd Dr Stephen Hance, the Dean of Derby, has been appointed National Lead for Evangelism and Witness for the Church of England.

The Right Revd Libby Lane, Bishop of Derby, has been introduced to the House of Lords by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu.

The Lord Bishop was joined by her husband, Revd George Lane, senior chaplain of Manchester airport, and her parents who live in North Derbyshire.

Also in attendance were Stephen Hance, the Dean of Derby, Rachel Morris, Diocesan Secretary, and Mark Titterton, the Executive Chair of the Diocesan Board of Finance.

The Diocese of Derby has welcomed eight new deacons into ordained ministry in a service at Derby Cathedral.

Thursday, 27 June 2019 16:15

Ossie's Kitchen opens in Ashbourne

Ossie’s Kitchen, the community café of Ashbourne, has officially opened its doors.

The low-cost, sociable eating space will open once month and will help tackle loneliness and social isolation by providing opportunities for local communities to forge new friendships.

Monday, 10 June 2019 10:36

Cathedral to host Knife Angel in Derby

Derby Cathedral will host The Knife Angel when it comes to the city later this year.

Derby has been chosen to be one of the cities across the country to host the National Monument Against Violence and Aggression.

The spectacular 27ft sculpture, made from around 100,000 bladed weapons collected in knife banks during police amnesties across the country, will be based next to the Cathedral on Irongate, for 28 days in October.

The Knife Angel is being brought to Derby by a group of agencies and organisations across the city, including: Derby Cathedral, Derbyshire Police, Derby City Council, Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa and University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust.

More than 70 local church leaders from across the Diocese gathered together at St Werburgh’s Church in Derby on 15th May for the Diocese's first Missional Leadership Symposium.

The symposium, organised by the Mission and Ministry team, was the first of a series of gatherings designed to bring the nation's best and most creative missional thinkers together with local church leaders.

Bell ringers of all ages will be ringing bells across Derbyshire on Thursday, 6th June to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

Places where you can hear bell ringing in the evening include: Church Broughton, Cubley, Derby Cathedral, Eckington, Hayfield, Ilkeston, Kirk Hallam, Old Brampton, Old Glossop and Shirland. Long Eaton's bells will be ringing in the morning.

To find out more about bell ringing please visit the Bell Ringing Derbyshire Facebook page:

Image by Don Jones

Following her installation, Bishop Libby is visiting all the deaneries - to meet people, to worship and to get to know better some parts of the Diocese.

These visits co-incide with Thy Kingdom Come

In a town where so many of the residents have a connection with mining, St John the Baptist Church in Clowne is to pay a lasting tribute to the memory of the mining community with a bespoke, locally crafted mosaic.

Once completed, the mosaic will be installed on the front of the altar of the church’s Miners Chapel – which, until recently, stood unused for many years.

Bishop Libby has been installed as the eighth Bishop of Derby in a service at Derby Cathedral.

The event marked the start of Bishop Libby's ministry in the Diocese of Derby.

The service included traditions such as anointing her with oil, and she sat in the cathedra - the bishop's seat - for the first time. 

Wednesday, 24 April 2019 13:41

Belper Street Angels

There are a number of nightmare scenarios on a Friday night out… losing your keys or your wallet, losing your phone, having one too many, feeling down, feeling ill.

But if you have one of these problems in Belper, help probably won’t be too far away as some real-life angels keep watch.

Harry, from Mickleover, shares his experience of being welcomed into an inclusive church

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