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Extending the Cathedral Family

by glynch — last modified 10 May, 2017 02:54 PM

Five new Canons installed at Salisbury Cathedral, the last in the current Dean’s tenure

Extending the Cathedral Family

Photo (C): Ash Mills

Five new members of the College of Canons at Evensong in Salisbury Cathedral yesterday.

Each canon is allocated his or her own stall in the Cathedral Quire and together with other members of the College of Canons, form part of the Cathedral’s extended family, providing feedback on Cathedral activities and policy decisions made by Chapter, the Cathedral’s governing body.

The new canons represent a broad range of expertise and interests from telecommunications and insurance to marketing and PR, and attend at twice yearly meetings. 

Bev Flanagan was installed as a lay canon in the Weymouth stall. Bev spent nearly 25 years in Further Education, most recently as the Principal of Buckinghamshire University Technical College, and now has her own PR and marketing consultancy. She is also a trustee of Sarum College.

Nigel Salisbury, installed as a lay canon in Bricklesworth, spent 33 years’ in the insurance industry and is a steward and trustee of the Cathedral Friends.

Of the three non-residentiary canons admitted at the same Evensong, the Revd William Rogers, Bishop’s Adviser for Associate Ministry in the Diocese of Salisbury since 2015, was installed in Lyme and Halstock, whilst the Revd Dr Joanna Abecassis was installed in Teyton Regis and the Revd Tim West, Rural Dean of Weymouth and Portland and Team Rector of the Ridgeway group, was installed in Preston.

The stalls used by the newly admitted canons are steeped in history. In medieval times they would have been occupied by prebendaries, or canons receiving a stipend or ‘prebend’ from the relevant estates.

This group of canons will be the last to be installed during the current Dean’s tenure. The Very Revd June Osborne leaves the Cathedral to become Bishop of Llandaff in the Church in Wales this July.

Reflecting on this significant moment she said, “Over the years the College of Canons has been a great source of inspiration, reassurance and wisdom, and together with prayfulness and a deep understanding of the Cathedral’s purpose each member has contributed to the Cathedral and Cathedral life. We have much to be grateful for here in Salisbury, with such a wealth of talent to draw upon across the Diocese. As with the canons who have gone before, I know these newly appointed members of the College of Canons will play their part with grace, good humour and great loyalty and I wish them well.”

Short Biographies of the New Canons - all photos copyright Ash Mills (

2017 Canons Bev Flanagan.jpgBev Flanagan has varied experience of both marketing and education. Starting out as Public Relations Manager for both Sony and Motorola based in Basingstoke, she moved into further education in 1992 as a lecturer and progressed through to Vice Principal at Basingstoke College, followed by Vice Principal of Wiltshire College.  In these two senior roles Bev managed large teams of people and had responsibility for marketing, business development, apprenticeships, customer service and employer engagement.  Her last post was as Principal of Buckinghamshire University Technical College, which offered a technical curriculum alongside the more formal academic routes to 14 – 18 year olds and where employer engagement was key to the careers of these young people.  

Bev retired from full time education in 2015 and since then has been running her own marketing and business consultancy, working for a range of clients.  She currently lives in Salisbury and is very passionate about the city and all that it offers.  She is also a trustee of Sarum College.    

2017 Canons Nigel Salisbury.pngNigel Salisbury is a resident of Salisbury and member of the Cathedral community where he serves as a steward and trustee of the Cathedral Friends. He is also a member of Diocesan Synod, Bishop’s Council, and since 2015 Chairman of the Diocesan Board of Finance. 

He has worked in the insurance industry for 33 years following 3 years in the army and gaining a degree in Modern and Medieval Languages from Cambridge University.  Whilst there he met Lucy, a student in Art History and Education and they married in 1984, moving to Salisbury with their children Charlotte, Alice and Freddie in 1999.

Nigel is also a trustee of the Argylls’ Museum in Stirling Castle and past trustee and chairman of the Arbour Youth Centre in Stepney, London and the Roche Court Educational Trust based at the New Art Centre in Winterslow, where Lucy established the education programme and national ARTiculation competition.

They love living in Salisbury and enjoy the many blessings our beautiful city and glorious surrounding countryside have to offer.

2017 Canons Bill Rodgers.jpgThe Reverend William Rogers (Bill) has been Bishop’s Adviser for Associate Ministry since 2015. In this role, he works with a representative in each of the four archdeaconries to look after the particular needs and interests of more than seventy associate priests and deacons who serve in parishes and various institutions within the Diocese of Salisbury.

Originally from Bedfordshire, he studied at Selwyn College, Cambridge and completed a Master of Engineering degree in natural sciences and chemical engineering. He worked initially in the aviation industry, while also serving as a Royal Engineers officer in what is now the Army Reserve. After a theology degree and priestly formation at The Theological College in Chichester, he was ordained and served full-time in parishes in Leicester and Rutland. In 1994, while continuing to assist where needed as a priest, he returned to industry, this time in the telecommunications sector. More recently he has provided business and technical expertise to a variety of public sector organisations. He has used the opportunities in these positions to encourage and support Christians in various workplaces.

When he moved to the Diocese of Salisbury in 2004, Bill was licensed as an associate priest in what became the Forest and Avon Team, six parishes from Bramshaw in the New Forest to Downton on the River Avon. From 2007 to 2012 he served as Assistant Rural Dean of Alderbury.

He is married to Canon Jane Charman, Director of Learning for Discipleship and Ministry. They have two daughters, one at university and the other at school in Salisbury.

2017 Canons Joanna Abecassis.jpgThe Revd Dr Joanna Abecassis has been Rector of the Benefice of Bradford on Avon Holy Trinity, Westwood and Wingfield since 2013, having arrived in the diocese as Priest in Charge of Holy Trinity in 2010.

Following an academic start to her adult life (with a Cambridge degree and PhD in agricultural landownership!), she spent many years at home and as a volunteer, later becoming a lay hospital chaplain in Bristol with responsibility for the large team of chaplaincy volunteers.  

It was here that her vocation to the priesthood emerged and was affirmed, and from where her passion for pastoral care and accompanying people on their journey, encouraging and affirming, sprung. She enjoys multi-tasking and so playing her full part in the community, including as a school governor.  This is all proving to be invaluable following the recent £2 million re-ordering and restoration “Opening our Doors” project at Holy Trinity, which offers enormous and exciting opportunities for the future.

2017 Canons Tim West.jpgThe Revd Tim West was educated in Wessex, reading Electrical & Electronic Engineering at Bath University. Prayerfully he chose a career in power generation, working for ten years with coal, oil and nuclear fuels. He found it to be a deeply moving spiritual privilege, and perhaps it was that which evolved into his second vocation as a parson.

After training at Ridley Hall, Cambridge, Tim has only ever worked in team ministries: a mix of rural and urban at Mildenhall in Suffolk, and deep rural at Melbury in Dorset. He is currently Rural Dean of Weymouth & Portland, and Rector of the Ridgeway Team.

Tim enjoys making the Church accessible to all ages working with schools, the Air Training Corps & Residential homes to name a few. He is also actively trying to encourage those who may have previously found coming to Church intimidating by running more informal services, for example Café Church, alongside the more traditional.

He has the gift of a lively family. Hobbies include photography, cycling, real ale, Bath Rugby and writing. 

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