The Reverend Canon Dr Alison JoyceRector of St Bride's
Alison Joyce was born in Greater London and grew up in Sussex. After studying Classics at University she trained for the ordained ministry in Oxford, at Ripon College Cuddesdon. Following a curacy in rural Oxfordshire, she moved to Birmingham, where she lectured in Christian Ethics and Anglican studies at Queen’s College (now The Queen’s Foundation). She was an Associate Priest at St Anne’s Church, Moseley, for a number of years, followed by a period on the staff of Birmingham Cathedral. In 2005 she took over as Vicar of Edgbaston Old Church, combining this post with the roles of Chaplain to Elmhurst School for Dance (the feeder school for Birmingham Royal Ballet), and Recognised Chaplain to Birmingham University. From 1999 until 2014 she was Chaplain to the Community of St John the Divine in Alum Rock (the religious order featured in the television series Call the Midwife). She was appointed Rector of St Bride’s (‘probably the most interesting job in the Church of England!’) in 2014.
Alison has a passion for all things historical, and her book, Richard Hooker and Anglican Moral Theology, was published by OUP in 2012. In 2019 she was one of 100 women to be granted the Freedom of the City of London, in an initiative marking the centenary of women being granted the vote in this country.
She has two adult daughters, two very large Maine Coon cats, she plays the cello rather badly, and is rumoured to have once been the lead guitarist in a punk band.
The Reverend Dr Jeffrey LakeAssociate Priest (SSM)
Jeff was ordained at St Paul’s Cathedral in 2015 and served his curacy at St Bride’s before becoming an Associate Priest here. He was brought up in the Church in Wales but drifted away before returning to the faith at an Ashram in Bangalore! He trained for ministry at the South East Institute for Theological Education (SEITE) and Heythrop College, University of London.
Jeff is a Self-Supporting Minister who works in local government and is currently Deputy Director of Public Heath for Westminster City Council and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. He was brought up in Swansea and originally trained as a physical education teacher before conducting doctoral research into the promotion of active living, followed by further study at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He has twice worked abroad, at a Methodist School in the Bahamas, and later at the Singapore Health Promotion Board.
Jeff’s wife Sandra was raised in Fleet Street, her father having been the caretaker at Serjeants Inn. They split their time between London and Lewes, enjoying both the energy of the City and the quiet beauty of the Sussex Downs.
The Reverend Steve MorrisAssociate Priest (SSM)
Steve Morris grew up in Northolt in the far west of London. He always wanted to be a writer and indeed that is what he did and does. He studied English at the University of East Anglia in the 80s and left there having completed an MA.
Steven worked as an editor and managing editor and then became a freelance writer. Over time the passion for writing led to Steven setting up a successful brand agency and writing books about language and the world of management. Later in life he became a Christian and studied for ordination at Wycliffe Hall Oxford. He was parish priest at St Cuthbert’s, North Wembley where he pioneered memory cafes for those who have dementia. He has written a series of books about the faith including, Lost in Wonder: Glimpsing awe, God and the good life.
Steven loves cats, reading, writing but not ‘rithmatic. He wants to learn to sing and has hope in this direction because he has recently learned to cook.
Nick Baldock was appointed churchwarden in 2018 having been a guildsman since 2006.
Nick has been worshipping at St Bride’s for over 20 years. He works locally and heard the bells. He then heard the choir and that was it. He is a regular attender at evensong. Although entirely unmusical himself Nick loves choral music especially when combined with inspirational ministry and a warm welcome.
Nick is a barrister specialising in civil litigation with a particular interest in personal injury and property damage claims. Of far more importance are his roles as a husband and father. His wife, Lucy, is an author after a previous life in television as a producer of arts documentaries. They have one son who was christened at St Bride’s.
When not at St Bride’s or working Nick loves to spend time in the theatre, listening to music or, when he can, fly fishing. He attempts to keep fit and enters the occasional mud run just to prove he still can.
Valerie is a long-time congregant of St Bride’s. She first visited the Church as a schoolgirl in the City which made a huge impression. Many years later she became a regular worshipper here after moving back from Gloucestershire by which time she and her husband Ian had three daughters. Ian worked in the newspaper and magazine world, hence the introduction to St Bride’s and Valerie was also involved in the media world as a Conference and Events Organiser. The family attended St Bride’s and subsequently daughters Ginny and Charlotte were married here. Five of their six granddaughters were christened and subsequently three of them confirmed at St Bride’s. Prior to a move to Somerset their eldest daughter, Katharine, ran the Sunday School for five years and their eldest granddaughter, Madeleine, is now a reader. Ian served a six year term as Churchwarden prior to becoming Master of the Stationers’ Company in 2014. In Valerie’s words, St Bride’s has provided a long, happy and fulfilling part of the family’s lives.
Valerie is active in the organisation of her local Arts Society and enjoys time with her family and friends, long country walks, travel and the theatre.
Lesley-Ann Jones was appointed churchwarden in 2021. Fascinated by newspapers from an early age thanks to her late sportswriter father Ken Jones, ‘The Voice of Sport’, she studied Modern Languages but was waylaid by the irresistible allure of the Fleet Street village.
She joined the staff of the Daily Mail as a reporter, and first set foot inside ‘The Journalists’ Church’ in 1987, seeking baptism for her firstborn. All three of her children have since been baptised and confirmed here. She was elected to the Guild of St Bride originally in 2000, and joined the Guild Court in 2019. Even though the newspaper industry has withdrawn from Fleet Street, she regards it as vital that the media maintains close links with its spiritual home.
Having written for most of our national daily and Sunday newspapers during the 1980s and ’90s, she became a full-time author in 1997 with the first of her four biographies of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. She has since written and published more than twenty books, including co-writes, ghost-writes, and studies of Marc Bolan, David Bowie and John Lennon. She is published in thirty languages on six continents, contributes to radio and television programmes around the world, and remains actively involved in the UK music business. She supports all genres of live and recorded music and spends as much time as possible at gigs.
Graham Hill has worshipped at St Bride’s since 2003 and was appointed churchwarden in 2023. He has also been a member of the Guild since 2020.
Like so many, Graham was drawn to St Bride’s by its musical heritage and world-class choir.
Away from his duties as churchwarden, Graham works in the theatre industry, both as a playwright and mentor to young and upcoming creatives. He also advises on aspects of arts finance.
His spare time in the damper months is taken up following Chesterfield Football Club up and down the country, whilst what little summer there is will find him at Lord’s.
He also enjoys exploring the nation’s countryside and coastline.
Lord Black of BrentwoodMaster of the Guild of St Bride
Guy Black has spent most of his working life in the media and communications industry. Currently Deputy Chairman at the Telegraph Media Group, which he joined in 2005, he started in the media as Director of the Press Complaints Commission in 1996. This organisation was then based in Salisbury Square, a stone’s throw from St Bride’s, which Guy has been attending ever since. Guy served as Churchwarden at St Bride’s from 2014-17.
Over the last few years Guy has played a leading role in the issues arising from the Leveson Inquiry. As Chairman of the Press Standards Board of Finance, he has been involved in setting up the new industry regulator, the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), which is the successor body to the Press Complaints Commission. He is keenly involved in the battle for press freedom at home and abroad. In the UK he has led the industry’s campaign against the Royal Charter on press regulation. Since 2009 he has been Chairman of the Commonwealth Press Union Media Trust, which seeks to preserve and enhance press freedom throughout the Commonwealth. He is Vice President of News Media Europe.
Guy has been closely involved in a number of the industry’s charities. He is President of the Printing Charity, and is leading the Centenary Appeal for the Journalists’ Charity. He is also President of the London Press Club.
Away from the media, Guy is a trustee of the Imperial War Museum, and has been Chairman of the Royal College of Music since 2017. Music has been a lifelong passion, and so Guy particularly appreciates the extraordinary music-making of St Bride’s Choir. He is a Governor of his old school, Brentwood School, and retains strong links with Peterhouse, Cambridge, from which he graduated in history.
Robert JonesDirector of Music
Robert Jones was educated at Trinity School, Croydon, where he gained the FRCO diploma and ran his own parish choir while still at school – during this period he was also a Junior Exhibitioner at the Royal College of Music as a pianist and was taught harmony by Robert Langston (then Director of Music at St Bride’s). He gave a lunchtime organ recital in the church in 1974 and had the ambition to become Director of Music from that time onwards.
In 1975 he became a Music Scholar at Christ Church, Oxford, where he sang in the Cathedral choir under Simon Preston, studying singing with David Johnston and organ with the late Nicholas Danby. Following graduation, he held posts as Lay Clerk at St George’s Chapel, Windsor and Westminster Cathedral before embarking on a career as one of Britain’s leading consort singers, featuring on award-winning recordings with the Tallis Scholars, the Orlando Consort and the Gabrieli Consort. He maintains a lifelong interest in piano and organ playing and choral directing, and realised his ambition to come to St Bride’s in 1988.
Since then he has directed the choir for numerous services, concerts and recordings, the high point probably being the service attended by Her Majesty the Queen in November 2007 to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the church’s post-war re-dedication.
He also holds a number of teaching posts and has been an examiner for the Associated Board since 2004, working in the Far East as well as in the UK. He has been associated with many leading British choral societies and has been conductor of the Eastcote Choral Society since January 2009.
Matthew studied the organ and harpsichord at the Royal Academy of Music with Christopher Bowers-Broadbent and Virginia Black, and continued his post-graduate studies as a piano accompanist with the Geoffrey Pratley and the late Alex Kelly, winning all the Academy’s accompaniment prizes. He was first appointed to St Bride’s in 1991 as our HJC Stevens Organ Scholar. and in addition to playing the wonderful Compton organ in our services, he conducts the St Bride’s Orchestra, directs our Come and Sing workshops, edits the live service recordings for the Listen Again feature on the St Bride’s website, is the producer of our St Bride’s Live record label, and provides many of the bespoke ‘pop’ arrangements for the choir.
Outside St Bride’s he works as a chorus-master and repetiteur with some of our country’s top professional and amateur choral groups, including The BBC Singers, English National Opera, Opera Holland Park, London Voices, Voicelab, Brighton Festival Chorus, Guildford Choral Society and Vivace Chorus. He is also the Chorus Director for the Buxton Festival, and Music Director of ITN’s Office Choir.
James IrvingHead of Finance and Fundraising
James came to St Bride’s on a three-month contract in September 1991, his task being to re-organise the church’s accounts. Prior to this, he had worked as a trainee accountant at a nearby firm and was intrigued by the church’s campaign to release the journalist John McCarthy from captivity in Lebanon.
James was keen to stay on at St Bride’s and augmented the financial work with cleaning and administrative duties until becoming Administrator in 1995.
Since then, his role has expanded greatly to include revenue and capital fundraising, preparing and delivering high-profile memorial services, carol services and concerts, dealing with charity governance and liaison with our media and corporate supporters.
Although finance is at the heart of James’ work, the most rewarding part of his job has always been the human side. He has held a number of his life event services at St Bride’s and has found the church to be a source of great support over the years.
Claire’s career at St Bride’s began when, as a Post Graduate singing student at the Royal Academy of Music, she became a choir deputy. After a few years a vacancy opened up in the choir and Claire was given the fulltime position.
Following a period working as a professional opera singer Claire took a step back from her singing career and during that time, was asked to take on maternity cover for the part time administrator at the time. That cover became a permanent job which grew into a full time position.
Claire’s main role is to coordinate the everyday running of the Church. This can range from booking and organising weddings to sewing up choir gowns. The Administrator’s desk is the first point of call for any enquiry and if an issue can’t be dealt with there, Claire will direct you to right person.
Claire is still a member of the choir after 30 plus years, and a large part of her administrative duties still involve the musical life of the church.
Robin TurnerHead Verger
Robin joined St Bride’s as Head Verger in 2018, moving from Suffolk where he had served three years as Verger at St Edmundsbury Cathedral. Having previously served at his family church of St Matthew, Stretford, in Manchester, Robin had joined the parish church choir at the age of 8, following in the family tradition, and proceeded to become Server, Sacristan, Master of Ceremonies and Lay Assistant. From 1995 to 2014 Robin held the full time position of Hall Manager at the St Matthew’s Hall complex using and developing his skills in building management, design, hospitality and marketing to create a centre for the wider community.
With a professional background as Architectural Technician, Robin has a keen eye for design and detail (he can be quite particular!) and brings this to his role in the church setting whether that is in the conduct of the service, the arrangement of candles, flowers, signage or the straightening of chairs.
Robin still likes to sing and draw, though now just for pleasure and, though he misses having a garden, returns to Stretford to tend the topiary in the churchyard which he started more than 30 years hence – check it out if you are passing.
With a focus on the ministry of welcome and hospitality, Robin can normally be found at the vergers’ station at the west end of the church, else up a ladder, wielding a giant duster or regaling visitors with the wonders of St Bride’s.
Nadira grew up in Iowa in the United States and rural North Yorkshire (though sadly did not pick up the accent of the latter home). They studied literature at Oxford University before attending the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where they started writing poetry and illuminating it, medieval-style.
After sampling a fair few spiritualities, Nadira was baptised into the Church of England a couple months prior to finishing their PhD at Royal Holloway, University of London and starting as Verger at St Bride’s in September 2022.
Nadira adores bees, winter wild swimming (usually for no more than ten minutes!) and rare, odd words.