An ex-RAF technician and instructor from the West Midlands has been named as the new vicar of St John the Baptist Church, Spalding.
Rev Canon Steve Simcox (57), who became a Church of England priest in 2004, was appointed by the Bishop of Lincoln, the Right Reverend Christopher Lowson, on May 1 to succeed Rev Peter Garland who died suddenly last June, aged 62.
I’ve spent a lot of time in Lincolnshire, my daughter is married to a Fenland farmer, I have two Fenland granddaughters and my dad has moved here as well, so this part of the world is very much home for usRev Canon Steve Simcox (57), vicar-designate of St John the Baptist Church, Spalding
Mr Simcox, who is married to wife Doreen, with one daughter and two granddaughters, was born in West Bromwich and spent 24 years in the RAF where he carried out tours of duty in Northern Ireland, Bosnia and the First Gulf War in 1990.
Speaking to the Spalding Guardian, Mr Simcox said: “It’ll be very much of a homecoming for me as I’ve spent a lot of time in Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk.
“Also my daughter is married to a Fenland farmer, I have two Fenland granddaughters and my dad has moved here as well, so this part of the world is very much home for us.”
Mr Simcox is currently vicar of St Edmunds Church in Tyseley, Birmingham, where he has been based for ten years, as well as an Army Chaplain to the Royal Logistics Corps and a missionary working with churches in the African country of Rwanda where an estimated 800,000 people died during a genocide in 1994.
Before that, he served as an Anglican curate in Ramsey, Cambridgeshire, and states his other interests as hill and mountain walking, reading and the Japanese martial art of jui-jitsu.
Mr Simcox said: “After talking to people in Spalding, I see my work as a continuation of what Rev Peter Garland was doing before his tragic loss last year.
“Both my wife and I know that we’re coming to an area where Peter was well-loved and appreciated which, in one sense, makes it quite daunting for us.
“But we also believe in building on what Peter did and we’re looking forward to doing that.”
Associate minister at St John’s, Captain Paul Whiteley, said: “I am delighted to hear of the appointment of Stephen to be the next minister-in-charge of St John’s, Spalding and are very much looking forward to working with him.
“My prayers are with Steve and his wife Doreen as they prepare for the next part of their ministerial journey.
“We also remember the congregation at St Edmunds Church, Tyseley, where Steve has served for ten years.”
Meanwhile, the Archdeacon of Boston, Dr Justine Allain Chapman, said “I am delighted that a priest with the energy and focus of Steve is coming to the diocese.
“He will bring his many gifts and record of working in partnership with others in furthering the mission of God”.