As founding chairman, I have loved watching our festival grow to become the major event it is today, rich, rewarding, fun and fabulous. My day job is group arts editor for Sussex Newspapers, but in my deluded mind, I am an athlete, having run 40 marathons.
I have also written 12 published books including Outrunning The Demons and Keep On Running, plus three books on Chichester. My vices include a tragic addiction to the Rolling Stones, balanced by undying love for The Beatles. I am married to Fiona; our children Adam and Laura are both NHS doctors working in Newcastle.
In 2012, when I was Mayor, a small group created the Festival of Chichester – Phil and I have been on the committee from the start, and are still very much involved in what we believe to be an annual exciting and excellent feast of culture by and for our community. I am immensely proud of this achievement.
Having spent my working life in youth work, and having been Mayor of Chichester three times, I now continue to give my time as a City Councillor, as well as being a tour guide of our city, the City Walls, and the Cathedral.
Sussex born and bred, my career has been predominantly as a writer of travel guides to countries as diverse as Iran and Indonesia, Belgium and Bosnia, with a particular speciality in Azerbaijan and the Caucasus. I am also a trained teacher, and taught for three years in Japan in the early 1990s. I’ve lived in Chichester since 2016 regularly moonlight as a front of staff helper at the Novium/TIC.
Though my university education was science dominated, I was also the arts editor of the student newspaper. I currently contribute to a cultural-geopolitical website about the Caspian Region.
As a treasurer, I keep a close eye on the financial side of the festival. We are self-funding and rely mostly on valuable participants’ donation and local advertising. It’s essential the festival generates sufficient funds to run each year. In my day job, I run a local hospitality and property business.
I have watched the festival grow it adds to the rich culture offer in the Chichester and surrounding areas. I am proud to be a volunteer on the committee. In my spare time, I enjoy the lovely Sussex countryside or spending the odd afternoon at my beach hut in the Witterings.
I’m Canon Precentor at Chichester Cathedral, where I have a particular responsibility for education, art and culture. Alongside my duties at the Cathedral, I’m a Governor and Visiting Fellow at the University of Chichester, a Director of the Oxmarket Gallery, and a governor of the Prebendal School.
The Cathedral has a long association with the Festival and it’s huge fun and a great privilege to sustain this venerable friendship between these two great institutions of our city.
I have lived in Chichester all my life and have been connected with its theatrical, creative and performance arts culture since I was fourteen with Chichester Youth Theatre. Following a stint of living in London where I trained as an actor, worked for a Government Ministry and learned how to write and direct plays on the Fringe I returned to Chichester to find a lively but disparate and often hidden arts scene.
In joining the committee for The Festival of Chichester and the Chichester Fringe I want to draw on my local government workplace skills in logistics, process management and communication to help develop the Festival and bring the arts and culture of our lovely city to everyone.
I’ve now retired from freelance translation but my background is in marketing communications and one of my hobbies is choral singing. I run musicinportsmouth.co.uk, a local classical music events and news website. Along with others on the festival committee, I set up the Chichester Fringe in 2021.
It’s great when we are able to communicate excitement about any of the events we are promoting. It is wonderful working with a supportive and effective festival team.