Story: John Mellor | Photo: Richard Hanson
The Revd Philip Ireson was inducted into his new post as vicar of Christ Church Pitsmoor on 4th May 2011 by his predecessor, now the Archdeacon of Sheffield and Rotherham, the Venerable Martyn Snow . The service was led by the Bishop of Doncaster, the Rt Rev Cyril Ashton.
Philip and his wife Frances were welcomed by a large congregation which included church and community leaders and the Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Councillor Alan Law.
Philip comes to Pitsmoor with a wide variety of experiences from his previous work at HMP Doncaster where he has been the Senior Chaplain since 2001. In the 1970s he began as a teacher of the deaf at Mary Hare Grammar School in Newbury, later moving to Wolverhampton. After training at St John's College, Nottingham, he came to Sheffield in 1984 as the curate of St John's, Owlerton, with his wife Frances – a teacher and lay reader – and children, Robert and Rosie. Their third child, Heather, was born in Sheffield and they now have three grandchildren.
From 1987-1994 Philip was vicar of the Marshland Parishes, near Goole, a large rural area with four churches and then to another group of parishes near Worksop where he became involved in working with ex-offenders leading to his full-time role as Chaplain at Doncaster prison.
“We're delighted to be in Pitsmoor – it will be a challenge living in that huge vicarage! One of the biggest differences is that in a prison everything is highly regimented and done to definite times with bells. Life is so intense, everything happens rapidly and my office was right in the middle of it with prisoners having open access to share their problems, often involving difficult situations with their families at home.
"I'm involved with a charity called ‘Restoring Broken Walls’ Trust which works with ex-offenders to respond to urgent needs and set up projects to aid their rehabilitation.”
“I shall have to get used to taking more time to make decisions now. I think it will mean listening, gathering groups together in a collaborative way, perhaps starting some new initiatives but certainly growing the church. I also hope to find time for hobbies, particularly cricket, long distance walking, gardening and reading".