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Meet the Team

A Note From Liam Johnston, Our Executive Director

“Here at Railway Mission, it’s our aim that nobody working in or connected with the railway industry needs to feel alone. Our trained chaplains offer support on the whole of life’s journey, especially during the bumps in the road.

We’re proud of the fact that each of us brings our own special character and life experiences to our work. My own career began in industry and I fully understand the challenges faced by today’s employees and managers. I’m also an expert in the trials and tribulations of family life!

My years spent in Christian ministry, including time as a regional Railway Chaplain, taught me that it’s impossible to separate work and life issues and that pastoral and spiritual wellbeing is the key to a fulfilled life.”


 Scotland D Division

Graham Whitehead

Serving West Scotland

“From an early age I had a love of all things railway, volunteering in my youth on the Talyllyn Preserved Railway, a narrow-gauge steam railway in rural mid-Wales. I’m looking forward to combining my three great loves, faith, building relationship with people and the railway. I want to earn people’s respect and trust, leaving them with a smile and in a better place than when we first met.”

 

Ruth McBean

Serving East Scotland

“My own life experience enables me to bring a depth of insight into situations. I’m always looking for new opportunities to engage with individuals, companies and local community groups connected with the railways.”

Dereck Grant

Serving North Scotland

“My patch is one of the most remote areas of the UK, and I serve a relatively small population distributed across a wide area. I love this part of Scotland, and consider it a real joy to be able to be here for anyone on the railways who needs me.”


 North West C Division

Richard Cook

Serving the North West of England and North Wales (Liverpool, Preston, Carlise)

“I’m known to some as the Flying Vicar, as I’m usually dashing about on trains to meet as many folks as I can. I’m often in my robes for services of celebration, commemoration and remembrance on the railways, but I’m equally happy chatting with staff over a brew in my rugby shirt and chinos.”


North East C Division

Helen Bartlett

Serving the North East of England (Newcastle area)

“I’m a real people person. I love chatting to people, hearing their stories, sharing my faith and supporting folks wherever they are. I also love travelling and working anywhere and everywhere, so this job is a great mix!”

Angela Levitt-Harwood

Serving the North East of England (York area)

“Trains are part of my everyday life because my house overlooks the goods line in York.  Before joining Railway Mission, I worked in customer care and as a chaplain in the retail industry. People’s wellbeing really matters to me.”


Wales/Western C Division

Ralph Coleman

Serving the East Midlands

“I’m a railway enthusiast and – like all my colleagues – I have a real heart for people working in the industry. You might catch me noting the number of a train while I’m on my travels, but I’m most interested in the people who make our railways what they are.”

Colin Fraser

Serving the East Midlands (Derby)

“I have spent many years in manufacturing and distribution for different industries. The last three years I have studied full time and completed a degree in Applied Theology with Moorlands College in June of this year. It was a significant step in a calling I have felt for several years to formal pastoral care and I am grateful for the support through the demands of full-time study from my wife, Tammy, who I met when we worked with Operation Mobilisation in overseas mission. I enjoyed the privilege of fulfilling the placement aspect of my course at my home church and to work with our lead pastor and this also afforded the opportunity to work as a chaplaincy volunteer at a local men’s prison. In my spare time when not taxi-ing my two daughters around, I enjoy photography and am a keen formula one fan.”

Steve Cosslett

Serving South West England

Steve comes to Railway Mission via Mexico, where he worked for One Mission Society as Field Director. Steve had variety of roles; he sat on and advised the national church board, he directed the Mexican national church planting co-ordinator, who oversaw a large team of professionals and volunteers. Steve also oversaw the Mexican Director for Proyecto MEFI, (a ministry to street children and young people), and the Director of English ministries and Hope 61 (a ministry to educate the church on human trafficking). Steve was also serving as supervisor for the Rector of the Seminary in Mexico...

Hannah Tuck

Serving Wales & The Marches

Hannah has been a volunteer with St John Wales since she was 12 years old after she was treated for an injury by a St John’s Ambulance Wales volunteer at the Penarth festival and the volunteer encouraged Hannah to join the organisation. During her time with St John Wales Hannah became fully first aid trained and was named County Cadet for Cardiff and the Vale, acting as a mentor and role model to other young volunteers in the area. All this was at the same time as being a young carer. Hannah also received the Commandant in Chief Award, one of the highest awards available to a St John Cadet, for acts of kindness and brings that same care, compassion and kindness to her role as railway chaplain for Wales and the Marches.

 

David Hardy

Serving Worcester & Gloucester

“Trains and photography are passions of mine, so you may see me with a camera when something special goes through a station! The railways are run by a great group of people and – like my colleagues – I’m here for everyone.”

Alan Thorpe

Serving the South West of England

“I’ve been with Railway Mission for 30 years, and still love keeping up to date with what’s going on for railway staff. In fact, I take pride in knowing most people by name, and making the effort to introduce myself to new workers.”

Andrew Hall

Serving the West Midlands (Chiltern Line and Marylebone)

“My previous work involved looking after people in the IT business, so I’m very aware of the stresses and strains that technological (and other) changes can bring to a workplace. I spend most of my time listening to people on the railways, and I’m really happy to be able share in their highs and lows.”

Mike Roberts

Serving the North West of England (Manchester, Crewe)

I’m Mike and I’m the Railway Mission Chaplain for the Greater Manchester and areas. I’ve done various things during my life, including some time as a Baptist Minister in Yorkshire and Dorset and now live in the North West with my wife, Rebecca, who is a vicar for a church near Warrington.

To relax I enjoy watching cricket and Rugby League and I will spend any spare moment I can find reading and I love escaping into a really good bookshop and searching for a great book. I really enjoy photography and try to walk as much as I can.

Being a Railway Chaplain has opened doors and conversations that have been great ways of getting to know people and start to journey with them. I’m excited about what God has in store for the future.

Rafiq Thapar

Serving the Midland Metro (Birmingham area)

“The Metro tram line is hugely popular, and I love being here to serve all the people who make it work. I provide a listening ear for staff and members of the travelling public when things don’t quite go to plan with their lives.”


London North B Division

John Roe

Serving London South West

I was born and bred in Swindon, the famous GWR railway town, and am delighted to have made Swindon my home all my life. Following school, I studied Chemistry at Kings College, London, a degree I was never to use. But it was there I came to Christian faith, returning to Swindon, to take up a job with a large Financial Services Company, working there for 24 years.

During that time, I became increasingly involved in my local Baptist Church, and in 1995 became a founder elder of a new church plant in my community, becoming its full-time ordained minister in 2006. I stood down from that ministry in 2015 to pursue a calling to local community outreach and chaplaincy in hospitals, care homes and my local college.

Being a Railway Mission Chaplain to the GWR brings together my love of people – and my love of the railways (but I stress I do not train-spot anymore!). When I am not on trains, I can be found playing the euphonium in brass bands, and bit by bit, walking around the South West Coast Path.

Stephen Rowe

Serving London North

“You’ll hear an Australian accent when I speak, because I spent many years ministering to communities on the other side of the world. I love being in the UK again, and I relish the variety of work that life as a railway chaplain brings each day.”

Andrea Smyth

Serving London North

Although I have not worked in the rail industry before, I do have experience of working in mission. I spent three years travelling around the U.K., France, Belgium and Spain sharing about my faith with anyone who would listen. Quite often I would do this with music – I have been a violinist and singer since the age of seven – and it is wonderful the way that people who would not normally be interested in hearing about Christianity would enjoy listening to and joining in with the music that I played. One time, I played open air with a band in Donostia. We had driven 850km to do that, in a car with faulty brakes. We were very thankful that God got us all there and back safely!

I also had a career as a web copywriter. The last company I worked for was a holiday villa company. For three years, I enjoyed writing about holiday villas in lovely locations. I would also photoshop the pictures that the photographers sent me. The professional pictures didn’t require any work, but when I received photos taken by the villa owners, I sometimes wondered what they had been up to when they took them!

Michele Ashton

Serving London North & Anglia

“My name is Michele, with one ‘L’, I was named after a lady my mother met in France. 

My background has been in catering, but after many years I realised it was time to change direction. Having transferable skills gave me the confidence to explore how I could use my experiance to help people and serve the Lord”


London Underground/DLR B Division

Dylis George

Serving the London Underground

“When I’m not working, I love to cook – especially spicy and colourful food for friends and family. The main thing for me is that food brings people together, and I’m a firm believer that talking things through leads to solutions.”

Dan Godwin

Serving the London Underground

“I’ve loved trains since I was a boy, and I’m now loving every minute of working with railway people. My background is in youth work and teaching adults, so I’m well versed in the trials facing all ages.”


London South B Division

 

Christopher Henley

Serving London South West

“My passions for football and overseas travel provide me with a way into most conversations. I’ve been to several distant countries, and done some pretty unusual jobs. My experiences mean I’m not fazed by the difficult situations that some people face at work and at home.”

John Robinson

Serving London Southern & South East

“I love cycling in my free time, and I admire the motivation of cyclists in competitions like the Tour De France. The racers face immense personal challenges in training and during the event – a bit like life in general! I’m here to help railway people to stay the course.”

Levi Lee

Serving London Southern

Levi was previously been involved in prison ministry, where as part of the Prison Ministry Organisation, he would lead a small group of 7-8 inmates some of whom had a faith and some of whom did not.

When asked about his ability to empathise with the situation on Southern Rail, Levi said, “I have experience of both workplace chaplaincy at the Bluewater Shopping Centre in Kent and I have experience of the pressures that are in the workplace. I think it is important to be a listener, I am interested in people and their wellbeing”

“Working with Railway Mission is an exciting opportunity, it brings together my love for people and my desire to help them cope with the pressures of life and my love of railways”


 

Our Support Staff

Karen Stead

Fundraising and Marketing Officer, based in Rugby

Karen works part-time in the office at Rugby

Anne McCulloch

Administrator, based in Rugby

“I run Railway Mission’s accounts and manage our Rugby office. I’m the person who answers the phone and replies to letters and emails from supporters and our other contacts. As a people person, I love my role with Railway Mission.”