Six new honorary Canons have been appointed at Worcester Cathedral in recognition of their work in both the Diocese and the wider Church. Appointments are made by the Bishop of Worcester in consultation with the Chapter of the Cathedral. Honorary canons form a bridge between the diocese and the Cathedral and meet to reflect and advise on the life of the Cathedral. There are a limited number of posts – Lay Canons and clergy outside the diocese hold the position for a five-year period, while clergy from the diocese remain Canons while they serve in the diocese.

The Honorary Canons installed in a service in the cathedral on 23 September were:

  • Jan Humphries, Lay Minister in Gornal and Sedgley
  • The Revd Sue Oliver, Vicar of St Mark’s Church in Pensnett
  • The Revd Alex Vaccaro, Associate Priest in the Kidderminster Ismere team.
  • The Revd Rob Hall, Rector of the Halas Team in Halesowen
  • The Revd David Nichol, Vicar of Holy Trinity & St James in Malvern and Rural Dean of Malvern
  • The Revd Richard Thorniley, Rector of Church Lench with Rous Lench, Abbots Morton & Harvington and Rural Dean of Evesham

Bishop John commented: “It is a great delight to be able to appoint these three people who have given and continue to give outstanding service to the church in the Diocese of Worcester. They will be great ambassadors for the cathedral in the diocese and vice versa.”

The Revd Sue Oliver said: “"When I received the invitation I was stunned and my first thought was: I'm not in the same league as my beloved late mentor, Geoffrey Brown, not holy enough. It's only just becoming real and I am so very humbled and thankful for this invitation to be installed as an honorary Canon at Worcester Cathedral, the place where I was ordained priest and love so much."

The Revd David Nichol said: “I was surprised, greatly honoured and encouraged when Bishop John wrote and asked me to become an Honorary Canon of Worcester Cathedral. After ministering in the Diocese of Worcester for nearly twenty years, first in Powick, Guarlford and Madresfield with Newland and now at Holy Trinity Malvern and St James’ West Malvern, it is very encouraging for my ministry in these parishes and in the wider church as a Rural Dean. I consider it an honour to be more closely linked with the Cathedral, to be affirmed in my ministry in the local church and to be given an opportunity to be able to play a part in the wider ministry of the church.”

The Revd Richard Thorniley said: ““I feel honoured and surprised to have been invited to be an Honorary Canon. It was 20 years ago that I was ordained Deacon in Worcester Cathedral so it is a place that I have felt a special connection. I have spent 16 years being Rector of Church Lench with Rous Lench and Abbots Morton and Harvington and more recently Rural Dean of Evesham. I am looking forward to the ministry and the opportunity to serve the Cathedral and Diocese in a new way.”

The Revd Alex Vaccaro said: “Apparently I am not the only person who, on opening the letter on thick, Diocesan paper, inviting me to become an Honorary Canon of the Cathedral, wondered whether Bishop John had got me mixed up with someone else! However, once I got over the surprise (and shock!) I was honoured and delighted to accept. The Cathedral has always been part of my life, from visits as a child, to attending services and, of course, the very special memories of ordination there. To be a small part of the life of this place will, I’m sure, be a delight as well as a challenge and responsibility. To quote a congratulatory e-mail from another Canon of the Cathedral – “the lovely thing is that it is an entirely unlooked for, unexpected, gift”. That sums up my feelings exactly, along with a great sense of wonder and thanksgiving to be honoured in this way.”

Jan Humphries said: “It's quite difficult to put into words just how shocked and amazed I felt when I received the letter from Bishop John inviting me to be made Honorary Canon of the Cathedral. I've spent the last 10 years serving the people of Gornal & Sedgley and now look forward to also contributing to the Cathedral's ministry.”

The Revd Rob Hall said: “I have known and loved Worcester Cathedral since first visiting it as a twelve year old boy from Stourbridge. Since then I have been ordained there and seen many people I love and care for licensed as Readers, made ALM, ordained and confirmed there. And I have always been touched by the numbers of people who make their way from the north of the Diocese for such occasions. So the Cathedral has been a place of deeply significant moments on the journeys with God of myself and people I care for as well as a beautiful and numinous building. I was fairly amazed to be asked to be an Honorary Canon but will joyfully do my best for what is for many a relationship of deep significance between our wonderful Cathedral and the wonderful people of this Diocese.”

Honorary Canons are distinct from Residentiary Canons who are on the staff of the Cathedral.

See photos from the service


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