Our PCC members have been invited to give a brief introduction to themselves and below, in no particular order, you can read all about them.
Sean Semple, Rector
Sean grew up in Durban, South Africa, during the height of the Apartheid era. His mother was Roman Catholic and thus he and his brother were baptised Roman Catholic but when he was around 10 years of age, the family converted to Anglicanism, which was the tradition of his father. Sean and his brother continued to be educated in a Roman Catholic Marist Brothers’ School that had the distinction of being racially integrated in quiet defiance of the policies of the South African government of the time. After leaving school, Sean read psychology and then theology, and his first career was as a therapist in a psychiatric unit. He felt called to ministry while attending a Presbyterian church and was subsequently ordained. In his decade in the Presbyterian ministry, Sean started two new congregations and served as an Army Chaplain. But during this time, we realised that he was more authentically an Anglican and was subsequently re-ordained, and served as a priest in South Africa, Cyprus and now in the UK.
Paul Cummings, Inspiring Hope
Paul was born in Louth, Lincolnshire in 1950. He was educated at The King’s School, Ely, where his principal activities appear to have been rugby and rowing! Following officer training he was commissioned into the Royal Corps of Transport in 1971. Though he joined on a 3 year short service commission he eventually stayed for some 34 years. Following retirement, he worked for 8 years as the Director Grants and Welfare of the Army’s national charity.
Paul is married to Fay and they have 2 adult children and 4 grandchildren. They moved to Ross from Rutland in December 2019. In his previous parish Paul was the PCC and Benefice Treasurer for 14 years. He is currently the Ross Parishes Benefice Treasurer. Paul is a member of the Ross Community Development Trust management team and has worked closely with the Trustees to help manage individual volunteering during the pandemic.
Julian Hallett, Inspiring Love
I first started coming to St Mary’s in 1999, when I moved to Ross from South Wales. The church community was so welcoming that, in 2011, I decided to become confirmed.
In addition to regular services at St Mary’s, I am involved with the Alpha course, first as an attendee and then as a helper and regularly assist with social and fundraising activities connected to the church and the choir.
I am also the Electoral Roll Officer and have participated in the EcoChurch group. I trained as a psychologist and work with children and adults who have a learning disability.
Bryan Jones, Churchwarden
I have lived in Ross all my life. I was baptised and married in St Mary‘s Church. My three children were members of St Mary’s church choir. I have been a member of the Scout Association in Ross, from Cubs Scout, Leader, to District Commissioner.
I served, an apprenticeship in engineering, and worked in industry for 17 years. In 1981 I became the site manager of John Kyrle High School, and worked there for 35 years. During my time there I was heavily involved in raising money for a new craft department at Kisiki College in Uganda. I was on the Town Council for three years, and am still a trustee and the chairman of Ross-on-Wye Almshouses.
I remain an active member of St Mary‘s Church and along with my wife, Sue, took on the winding of the Church clock since 1999. In December 2017 l was awarded the B.E.M. for my service to youth and education. My hobbies are cycling, walking, travel, and spending time with my family, especially my six grand daughters.
Peter Reynolds, Vice Chairman, Inspiring Faith
Born in South London, my Christian Journey started as a choir boy at Kendal Parish Church in the Lake District. Here I was came to love walking in mountains.
After a year of VSO in Uganda in ’69 – 70, I joined the Royal Marines and met Marilyn when I was sent to City University in London. We subsequently moved 20+ times around UK before finishing with 6 years in South America as a Military Attaché.
Life then took us to Spain where we rebuilt a ruin and successfully helped to launch a new inland congregation of St Georges Church, Malaga. The demands of 3 grandchildren & elderly parents brought us to Ross in 2013 where we were welcomed by the congregation of St Mary’s.
I have been on the PCC for 6 years and chaired the Friends of St Mary’s for 4. I was apprehensive when Sean asked me to take on the Inspiring Faith portfolio but look forward to the challenge of helping our Benefice to grow in the 21st Century with its many new challenges.
John Setchfield, Churchwarden
I was born in Quorn, Leicestershire and educated at St. Bartholomew’s Primary School, Loughborough College School and Manchester University where I graduated with a BSc and PhD in chemistry in 1975. I worked in industry all my career, first in South Wales and then in Cinderford, refining and recycling precious metals, first as technical manager and later as commercial director and managing director.
Church has always been part of my life, first in St. Bartholomew’s, Quorn, where liaisons in the choir led to marriage with Helen. We are blessed with 3 children and 7 grandchildren. My interests include hockey, walking football, Leicester City, choral singing and philately.
Melanie Mellor, Inspiring Love
I moved to Ross on Wye in 1993 from Lydbrook in the Forest of Dean when I met my late husband Russ, having previously lived in Essex, Dorset and London. As a keen singer, I joined the choir at St. Marys over twenty five years ago, when my son Tom, was just 8 and am still a member of the church choir along with my daughters Lydia and Ginnie, continuing as a member of the church. Recently I have been involved with leading an Alpha group, something very close to my heart.
I am a retired teacher, Special Needs coordinator and assessor for specific learning difficulties. I have a keen interest in those who have special educational needs and am on the board for the local charity, Enviroability.
I have a wide variety of interests including quilting and reading and enjoy spending time with my family. I also have a static caravan in Pembrokeshire and where I spend time, walking and enjoying time with friends.
Freda Davies, Reader
Originally from Blaenau Ffestiniog, North Wales speaking only Welsh both at home and in school – but moving to rural Lancashire aged 10 necessitated learning English quickly! Married to Terry – we met at University in Cardiff where I did Pharmacy and he – Production Engineering. We have one daughter who lives in Oxford.
We moved to Ross from St Albans in 1972 and I ran my own locum Pharmacy Business. In better times we enjoy driving our vintage MGs!
I have been very involved with the Mothers’ Union both locally and at Diocesan and National levels – I was Diocesan President for six years and served on the World-Wide Grants Committee – this gave me an insight into the amazing work the organisation does in many countries around the world. I have been Lay Co-Chair of the Ross and Archenfield Deanery Synod, a member of Bishops Council, a member of the Diocesan Overseas Committee, Coordinator of the Diocesan Marriage Support Network and a Local Ministry Development Group Companion. I am a Trustee of the Diocesan Social Fund and a Trustee of the Ross Charities and a Lay Canon (Emeritus) of Hereford Cathedral.
I became a licensed Reader 11 years ago after completing a three-year training course. I have completed further training in Open the Book storytelling, Marriage Preparation, Funeral Ministry and Bereavement Support. I am a Member of the Fellowship of Contemplative Prayer.
Mark Sanderson, Deanery Synod
I’ve been involved with St Mary’s for the last 28 years, all of that time primarily as Director of Music. Prior to that, I was born in Spalding in Lincolnshire where my church involvement began as a chorister in Spalding Parish Church Choir at the age of 7. Since then I’ve been involve at Chester and Exeter Cathedrals and a host of parish churches.
Beyond music I’ve also become involved most recently in all things digital (particularly on the live streaming front). I run the Benefice website. I have also been fully involved in the recent reordering project at St Mary’s, in fundraising and events, work with schools and all forms of publicity and branding.
Until recently, I worked as a consultant in education, as part of Herefordshire Council’s Learning and Achievement Service, supporting schools in the use of technology in learning and teaching in primary school classrooms around the county. I am now “retired” and can spend my time freely on many church projects.
Deanery Synod, Deputy Warden
I was born in Herefordshire and have lived here ever since. I went to school at Michaelchurch Escley Primary School and then to Hereford Boys High School. I had always been interested in farming and agriculture so in 1964 I went to Shropshire College of Agriculture.
In 1965 I began working for a small company in Hereford called Dairy Supplies who specialised in milking machines particularly Alfa Laval which sold worldwide. I continued to work as installer, service engineer and sales engineer until I retired 2015.
We became involved with St Mary’s when we moved to live in Ross-on-Wye in 1980 and have continued ever since. I was church warden for 16 years with three rectors. My interests are include old steam engines, old tractors, DIY, some gardening but mostly family, especially the grandchildren.
Roy Milnes, PCC Treasurer
I was born and brought up in Sheffield where I lived until work took me away in 1967, since when I have lived in various parts of England. My working life was in banking, but I took early retirement many years ago when banks had branches and branches had managers. My wife, Pat and I moved to the Ross-on-Wye area in 2006 but only moved into the town in July 2018.
I was brought up in the Methodist Church and we have generally worshipped in the (usually small) local church wherever we have lived and assumed we would do so in Ross. However we felt drawn to St Mary’s where we have happily settled, although the workings of the Anglican Church still leave us lost at times.
When St Mary’s was looking for a new treasurer, I offered to help and found myself in the post! I have still to fully understand how it works.
I moved to Ross on my retirement in 2004, having known the area since the late 1960s from holidays with cousins at Peterstow. After university (St Andrews and Cambridge) I spent my career researching and teaching local history in Oxfordshire and Essex in association with the universities of London and Essex. I have continued my interest in local history, writing or contributing to three books and articles, mainly on the Ledbury area.
I enjoy singing and have sung with several choirs and choral societies; I am still a member of Ross Choral Society and look forward to being allowed to sing again.
I have always been involved with the church, and served on PCCs in Oxford and Essex. I have been on the PCC of St Mary’s off and on since 2005, and was churchwarden from 2016 to 2021.
Rachel Lewis, PCC Secretary, Deanery Synod
Rachel was brought up in a village Rectory before going to boarding school at age 11. Three years’ study in Lancaster led to a teaching career. She married Nigel, eventually moving to Ross in 1982. Rachel gave up full-time teaching to bring up three children, but continued supply teaching until 2000 when she took over as Team Administrator at the Rectory office. She thoroughly enjoyed her work, especially seeing all 14 churches grow closer together. When the team split into three benefices in 2008, Rachel moved to the Town Council as Deputy Town Clerk. Upon retiring in 2018, she was reappointed as Project Officer, working fewer hours, until finally retiring from the Council in 2021.
Church music has been a great love from early days playing the village church organ, through studying music at college and continuing to sing in a variety of choirs, not least St Mary’s. Singing has provided opportunities to travel, another of Rachel’s loves, with visits to Prague and Nuremburg, Buckingham Palace and many of our great cathedrals.
I have lived in Ross for over 25 years with my husband and my three children, who have now left home and are making their way in the world. During this time I have worked in various primary schools in the area and now teach at Oak House Nursery School.
I am a member of St Mary’s Church Choir and I am involved in many of the Children and Young People’s Ministries in the Ross Parishes.
I like to keep fit by walking with our dog and I am a member of Ross Rowing Club, competing in regattas when I can.
We have a family connection with Italy and often visit and I am currently learning Italian at evening classes on Zoom.
Paul Eward, Deanery Synod
We moved to Ross in 1967. After many years as Secretary to the PCC, I became vice-chairman for several years. I was elected Ross and Archenfield Deanery Treasurer and then lay co-Chairman, and was on the Executive Committee of the Diocesan Board of Finance and several of its committees. I have been in the Choir for nearly 50 years. I was a solicitor, with a practice in Newent and Ledbury. For 12 years I was appointed by the Department of Trade to the Rail Passengers’ Committee for Western England, which represented passengers’ interests in the triangle between Penzance, Maidenhead and Church Stretton – quite a large area! I was a founder member of the Dean Forest Railway, and was a signalman there for over 25 years, regretfully having to hang up my duster when I became ill in 2018, eventually resulting (among other things) in a triple heart bypass.
I was born in Warwickshire but have lived in Oxfordshire, London, Yorkshire before moving to Herefordshire 5 years ago. I have attended St Mary’s for over a year – but still feel new as it has been more difficult to get to know people during lockdown.
I have always loved the countryside and find it is where I can really appreciate the beauty of God’s creation. I enjoy walking with my dog every day near the river and in the forest. I love reading and the theatre. I am a passionate gardener, inspired by my father and recently made a small pond and grow a few vegetables as well as roses!
I work full time for a neighbouring Local Authority commissioning public health funded services and previously trained as a nurse in London many years ago before managing services in mental health and addiction.
Paul Mason, Inspiring Faith (schools)
I was born in Bristol and spent my teenage years in Hounslow. My father worked at Heathrow. I went to university in Cardiff reading mathematics and then Loughborough for their PE diploma.
I married Margaret in 1969 and we were blessed with a daughter and son. Sadly, our son Matthew died, aged just 17, fatally injured playing rugby, while daughter Becky lives with her husband Jon near Kenilworth.
I spent my career in teaching, firstly at St Edmunds School in Canterbury (founded by the Clergy Orphan Corporation) and then in North Devon. For 30 years I filled various roles at Shebbear College including Deputy Head. In the local church I was churchwarden and treasurer for many years and in the wider Anglican community I served as Lay Co-Chair for the Torrington Deanery.
We moved to Ross in 2010 and then joined St Mary’s and almost before we’d unpacked, I became the chair of the Brampton Abbotts School governing body. I am also a member of Vaga Probus Club and I enjoy all sports.
Clive Beddows, Deputy Warden
I was born in 1942 into a North Shropshire farming family and married Betty in 1966, continuing to farm with my parents.
We have 3 children, Michael & Karen, who live in Shropshire, and Catherine, who lives in Perth, Australia.
In 1989 we decided to give up farming and moved down to Aston Ingham where we took up Bed & Breakfast, self catering cottages and a restaurant, which we ran for 10 years. We took early retirement in 1999 and moved to Bridstow.
During this time I got involved in the Rural Stress programme during the Foot & Mouth outbreak in 2003, I joined Ross Choral Society, served on Bridstow Parish Council and Bridstow Village Hall committee. I help in the community larder.
I am looking forward to when it will be safe to join in Church services again.