Farewell as Tim Bridges retires

Published on: 29th March 2021


As Tim Bridges approaches his retirement at the end of this month, we caught up with him to share his thoughts and reflection on the role of Church Buildings Officer.


Tim became Church Buildings Officer in Hereford Diocese in 2011 and took the role on the understanding that it would be for three years. A decade later, he is a valuable member of the team who provides guidance and advice to PCC members and congregations on looking after and developing their church buildings.


  1. SW: What future do you see for our church buildings?

TB: Our churches continue to play a much-needed role at the heart of our communities as we emerge from the pandemic. In our towns, they can be places for quiet reflection and enjoyed by local people and tourists, or busy hubs offering lively worship and valuable support to those who need it. In our rural parishes the historic church is often the only public building – let alone a place of worship - and so improving basic facilities such as heating and access, or installing toilets and kitchens, will make them increasingly valuable in the lives of those communities. Keeping the buildings in good repair, sustainable and open to everyone is so important.


  1. SW: How do you plan to spend your retirement?

TB: I have a long list of books to read when I’m not walking, gardening or visiting old churches!


  1. SW: Tell us about memories from your role with the Diocese – what gives you particular satisfaction?

TB: It is a privilege to have worked with so many people who are committed to looking after the 400 churches in the Diocese. It is wonderful when grants are awarded to help with repairs or improvements, and we have been fortunate to bring in some £7m in the last ten years. As a former Museum Curator, it is also rewarding to see historic features revealed and restored in a church. I love it when Victorian tile floors are uncovered after being hidden for decades by carpeting.


  1. SW: If you were to leave a note for your successor, what might it say?

TB: There is always plenty to do and our parishes are facing ever-greater challenges in looking after church buildings, but this is an opportunity to help and I hope you will enjoy doing it as much as I have.


The role of Church Buildings Officer will continue to be funded by Historic England as part of their programme of funding for Places of Worship Support Officers across England. Tim’s post in Hereford is also part-funded by the Herefordshire and Shropshire Historic Churches Trusts

Wendy Coombey, Community Partnership and Funding Officer for the Diocese of Hereford said:

“Our Church buildings are an important part of the rural life, sacred places loved by many whether they are Christian or not.  The work Tim and I have built over the last decade has demonstrated how important it is to use our buildings as creatively as possible, ensuring they are fit for purpose in the 21 century. I will miss Tim’s wisdom, knowledge and friendship, but wish him a wonderful retirement.”

Stephen Challenger, DAC Secretary said

“I am grateful to Historic England and the Herefordshire and Shropshire Historic Churches Trusts for continuing funding for the role of Church Buildings Officer and we will be looking to recruit to this role.

“Tim will be a hard act to follow. We will miss working with him, he is a wonderful colleague and a good friend. I wish him a very happy retirement.” 

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