Hastings Old Town Parish

One Modern Parish, Two Medieval Churches

Hastings Old Town Parish

One Modern Parish, Two Medieval Churches

Hastings Old Town Parish

One Modern Parish, Two Medieval Churches

Our Team

The Revd Mathew Phipps


Fr. Mat came to the Old Town Parish in 2023. Having grown up on a farm about 15 miles from Hastings, he moved to Abersytwyth to study law at the University of Wales.  He worked as a shipping lawyer in Southampton before leaving the legal profession to retrain as a missionary.  He studied biblical and intercultural studies at All Nations Christian College, and theology at the Ecclesiastical University of San Damaso in Madrid, where was ordained deacon in 2015.  On returning to the UK he was bishop’s chaplain in Winchester for 5 years while supporting the local Parish of St Faith.  Mat has a Class 1 HGV licence and has paid for many of his studies working as a lorry driver.

Mat has been married to Eluned, also a priest, since 2000, and they have two boys at local schools.  In his spare time, he enjoys motorcycling, clay pigeon shooting and kenjutsu.

Brother Ælred OC

honorary asst. priest

is a retired Anglican priest and a solemnly professed brother within the Anglican Order of Cistercians. He read Theology and Humanities at Bristol Baptist College and London University, before training for the priesthood at Cuddesdon College, Oxford. Brother Ælred has served in parishes and as Chaplain at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital and holds a postgraduate degree in psychoanalytic counselling. He was a volunteer therapist with the branch of the Family Welfare Association in Clapham Junction and facilitated therapy groups for medical staff at Great Ormond Street Hospital. Brother Ælred’s book Poet of the Word: Re-reading Scripture with Ephraem the Syrian was published in 2020

During the last thirty years he has lived with a male companion and provided a home to four cats.

Catherine Bendon

pastoral care co-ordinator

was brought up in South London where her family was closely involved with the local Methodist Church. Her work as a civil servant in London ceased with the advent of children. Catherine has lived in the High Street over forty years and participates fully in parish life. She was closely involved with the home school association of her children’s primary school and was subsequently a governor of the then William Parker School, representing the Parish. For many years she has been responsible for the Lay Ministry rota and was closely involved with the Parish Care Group from its inception.

Gareth Bendon

Buildings Officer

Gareth has lived in the Old Town High Street for fifty years and is married to Catherine. They have four grown-up children and six grand-children (and counting). He was educated at Christ Church C of E primary school, Hastings Grammar School and Jesus College, Oxford. Gareth is a  Trustee of the Magdalen & Lasher Charities. He is also Chairman of the Trustees of the Newham Riding School and Association: a riding for the disabled charity in East London. Gareth has retired from a career in public administration in London.

Sandra Bentall

authorised lay minister

was commissioned in Chichester Cathedral as an Authorised Lay Minister for pastoral care (2019) and preaching (2020) and has enrolled for the ALM course in leading worship. She is particularly interested in Taize spirituality and music. Work in the MoD Security Service was followed by forty-seven years in South Africa, the last thirty-six years as Regional Administrator in southern Kwazulu-Natal for the national Lifesaving Association. Sandra enjoyed living and working in a multi-cultural and multi-faith context and was active in the Anglican Church and also the Methodist Church where she became an authorised lay leader. Married to Ken for fifty-three years (having met in the belfry at Aylesford Church, Kent), both are members of the Two Towers Handbells Group. Life. Sandra also enjoys singing in the Parish choir.

Ian Gallagher


Ian has lived in Hastings for over forty years and in the Old Town Parish for the last twenty with his wife and two daughters.  Ian enjoys being part of the Church community and participating in Night Church. He is a self- employed builder for half of his working week, spending the rest of his working time as Senior project Coordinator at Xtrax Young Peoples Centre in Hastings, providing advice, information and guidance for 16 -24 year olds.  Ian enjoys dog walking, listening to music and spending time with family and friends.





Keith Leech

authorised lay minister, community missioner

is known for his work on events such as ‘Jack-in-the Green’ that run in Hastings and for which he received the MBE in 2014. Until recently he was a science lecturer. Now semi-retired, he has turned his hand to working in film and television as an extra and is also a photographer. He is a cradle Anglican but spent many years out of the Church until he found his way back about twenty-five years ago. He loves tradition and customs and has written many books and papers on the subject.

Keith describes himself as a theologically liberal Anglo Catholic, loving traditional liturgy but at the same time always trying to break down barriers to make Christianity more accessible, especially to anyone without a church background and those who are curious about the faith even if this means adopting an unorthodox approach. He runs Bible study groups in the local pub. Keith became an Authorised Lay Minister in 2021.

Dr. Pat Lock

reader, ChurchWarden

is a retired Headteacher, having been Head of three different schools. She studied Music and Science and has a doctorate in Special Needs Education, specialising in Autism. She continues to enjoy working with children and provides one to one tuition during the week.

Pat has been a Licensed Diocesan Reader (lay minister) for over thirty-seven years and was originally licensed to the Diocese of Jerusalem and the Middle East where her family lived in Bahrain for five years. She enjoys preaching and taking roles of responsibility within the church family.


Director of Music

Since the retirement of Malcolm Lock earlier this year, we are looking to appoint a new Director of Music.  For more information about the role, please contact the Parish Office.

Judy Rogers

ChurchWarden & PCC Secretary

Judy has lived in Hastings for 24 years along with her three now adult children.  She is a Borough Councillor and former Mayor of Hastings, a trustee with the Fellowship of St Nicholas, an Honorary Member of the Winkle Club and is involved with Old Town Carnival, Hastings Week and Bonfire and not forgetting the Happy Harold bus!  She has worked for 24 years for Table Tennis England where she is currently the Safeguarding and Ethics Manager.  Born and bred in Southend, she has found her true home in Hastings.

Simon Scott


has been treasurer for our parish since 2020. Born in South Africa, the son of the Reverend RPJ Scott, he has spent a lifetime as a member of the Church of England. He qualified as a social worker in South Africa and practised this profession for over forty years before retiring. He learned to play the piano from an early age and moved to the organ in his teens. Simon has sung in church choirs throughout his life and joined our choir when he moved from Holy Trinity Hastings in 2019 where he had also served as treasurer. Simon’s memoir and reflections on his professional life entitled Making a Difference was published in 2020

Mrs Ann Wing


Ann has lived in Hastings for twenty-six years and has always worshipped at St Clement and All Saints. A nurse by profession, Ann has been a Churchwarden for eight years. She is also the Sacristan and is a licensed administrator of the Holy Communion in both the church and the community. Ann is the first point of contact for baptisms, weddings and funerals and oversees the administration involved.