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Wednesday, 29 July 2015

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Church leader John to retire

HE has championed the cause of West Cumbria’s health service for 10 years, comforted the bereaved after the shootings tragedy and fought on Whitehaven’s front line on a whole host of community issues.

retiring: John Bannister

Now, after 12 years as a church and community leader, the Rev John Bannister, Rector of the Whitehaven Parish, is to retire.

He will officially step down on March 31 but a farewell service for him is set to take place on Saturday, March 9 at 3pm in St James’ Church when John hopes to share the occasion with his parishioners and members of the local community.

He and his wife Anne plan to move to a village near Milnthorpe. They had lived at Ulverston before arriving in West Cumbria and John’s grandfather, the late James Bannister, was from Millom.

The father-of-two says it has been “an enormous privilege’’ to serve the community of Whitehaven, “such a unique and special place”. He has also expressed his sincere gratitude for the support he has received during his ministry in Whitehaven.

“It has been a unique experience – there are few places in the country now where the church is integrated into the community in the way it is here in Whitehaven,’’ he said this week.

John, 58, came to Whitehaven in November 2000, to be curate and hospital chaplain to assist the then team rector the Rev Jim Baker, replacing the Rev David Tembey. John, had previously served at Flimby and Netherton. He took over as Rector of the Parish of Whitehaven in 2004.

John was formerly a community psychiatric nurse, managing services for the elderly for Cumbria County Council’s social services department. He began his training for the ministry in 1994. Anne too worked for social services in the field of child care, and is now an Ofsted inspector. For her, travelling around Cumbria and part of Lancashire for her job, the move to a location with quick links to the M6 will be welcomed.

John’s background in health and his role as hospital chaplain, informed his concerns about West Cumberland Hospital’s future and it was his fears about reductions in services with a shift towards Carlisle that prompted him to become involved. He felt he needed to do everything he could and speak out on behalf of the local community under its Save Our Services campaign.

Christine Wharrier, ex hospital union rep, said John would be greatly missed “as a campaigner for health services in Cumbria. Staff will feel they have lost a good friend.

“I wish to thank him for everything and wish him good luck and happiness for the future.’’

John says his interest in the health service will not wane and he will be watching closely as the latest hospital plans unfold.

Have your say

A true gent in all ways imaginable and im sure he will be missed by most of the towns folk. The Rev has served us well and even though i dont go to church on a regular basis its great that he still remembers our names from when we got married and had our children christened by him too. all the best rev.. and enjoy your retirement you will be missed. x

Posted by johnniec on 21 February 2013 at 10:16


And here I was thinking this week's paper was going to be full of bad news.

Enjoy your retirement John, while the rest of us enjoy some peace and quiet, without having to have your views imposed upon us. I'm sure there will be lots of people you've helped, and they will be grateful, but to me you have always been an unelected, self appointed community leader who has been rather fond of hearing your own voice.

I do wish you well however.

Posted by Atheist on 15 February 2013 at 07:49

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