The Bishop of Dudley, the Rt Revd Graham Usher and the Rt Revd Robert Paterson, Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Worcester will be joining the Revd Ian Spencer in a sponsored row from Cropthorne to Tewkesbury on 19 September. The 20 mile trip will raise money towards the refurbishment of the Chapel at retreat house, Holland House in Cropthorne, where Ian is the Warden.

The Bishops and Ian will be rowing in ‘Maria’, a wooden boat which belongs to the retreat house. The boat was kindly bought by Dr Deborah Jones a couple of years ago and the woodwork has recently been completely refurbished by Bishop Robert. At some point on the journey, they will also be joined by the Bishop of Worcester, Dr John Inge. The full journey will be completed by Bishop Robert and Ian and will take around 10 hours.

Ian Spencer said: 

“We have been gradually improving our beautiful chapel and now want to install permanent disabled access. As well as the bishops in the Diocese of Worcester, we’ve also received strong support from the Bishop of Gloucester for our row and we’re hoping that people across both dioceses will get behind us with sponsorship money or by coming to see us on the day!”

Bishops Graham, Robert and Ian will take turns rowing the boat. They will cast off from Cropthorne at 8.30am on Tuesday 19 September and hope to make steady progress down the river, navigating four locks before reaching the slipway in Tolsey Road, Tewkesbury at around 6.30pm.

To be part of the fun, please email to see how you might help. Donations can be made online at or by sending a cheque payable to "Holland House", to: "Maria", Holland House, Main Street, Cropthorne, WR10 3NB.


The Diocese of Worcester is one of 42 dioceses in the Church of England. It covers an area of 671 square miles and includes parishes in the County of Worcestershire, the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley, and a few parishes in northern Gloucestershire, south east Wolverhampton and Sandwell.

From: Sam Setchell, Press Officer for the Diocese of Worcester and the Bishop of Worcester.

Tel: 01905 20537 Mobile: 07852 302516