New member of the team is passionate about church buildings. Dan Spraggon (L) with Sandra Robertson and Bill Heslop. (Picture: Keith Blundy)

The Diocese of Durham has appointed a new officer to look after its places of worship and ministry. Daniel Spraggon (38) has recently taken over from Bill Heslop (63) who has retired from the role of Care of Churches Secretary after 18 years in the role and 38 years of working for the Diocese.

Daniel (Dan) has taken on the retitled role of ‘Buildings for Mission Secretary’ from a background of building surveying. He has previously worked in the private sector covering Northumberland, Tyne & Wear and Durham counties; he has been a Self-employed consultant for Cambridge City Council and Kettering Borough Council, and 14 years in Local Authority at Newcastle City Council.

Dan Joins The Team
(Picture: Keith Blundy)

Commenting on his new role Dan said: “I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to work in the Diocese and to play a key role in the management, heritage and the future of its many and varied churches and associated buildings. I am passionate about those buildings which collectively we term as ‘Buildings for Mission’; that is the mission to ‘Bless our Communities in Jesus’ name for the Transformation of us all’. I am thrilled to be playing my part in it by working to make our churches fit for mission in the 21st century whilst maintaining their heritage and importance to our communities. So I am looking forward to helping parishes fulfil their mission by getting the most out of their church buildings.

“One example of the work that I will be doing is the liaison between parishes in Bishop Auckland and the Auckland Castle Trust on the refurbishment of the Chapel at the castle – in many ways, this points to the complexity and diversity of the role.”

Sandra Robertson who chairs the Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC) which is responsible for overseeing all aspects relating to the care and upkeep of churches said: “I would like to add my own welcome to Dan. He will perform the key role between churches and the DAC committee which is mainly made up of volunteers who have specific skills and knowledge in wide range of disciplines including planning, architecture and conservation. Dan has a wealth of knowledge in this area and I very much look forward to working with him in the coming years.

Bill Heslop is thanked by Sandra Robertson for his years of service to the Care of Churches.
(Picture: Keith Blundy)

“I would also like to thank Bill Heslop for all the years of dedicated service to the upkeep and care of churches in the Diocese – Bill leaves big shoes for Dan to fill.”

Dan is married with a 10-month-old daughter, he lives in Newcastle. He has an educational background in history and art, with interests/study in the historic built environment.

Bill Heslop joined the Diocese of Durham in 1980 as a member of the clergy housing support team rising to be Housing Manager until he moved to be Care of Churches Secretary in 2000. Bill is married to Revd Sabine Tenge-Heslop a who was ordained as a Curate in the Diocese of Durham in 2017.