A quick chat with Ali Dee…

Summer Songs

Describe a typical day in the life of Ali Dee

Currently, my day starts with a bounce (literally!) on my mini trampoline, as I try to convince my body that it is alive and awake and raring to go.  I listen to music while I bounce, looking out into my garden, watching the cats chase the birds in the willow tree.  I’d like to say I listen to music which is uplifting and inspirational, but the reality is that I listen to whatever my husband had put onto his old walkman years ago and spend most of my time skipping tracks!

Shower, jobs and porridge out of the way and I’m off!  And from then on my days can be quite varied …

I work from home, so on a song writing day, I will settle down with my piano, keyboard and computer.  The first I love, the second I tolerate and the third I loathe but couldn’t work without! I often have nuggets of songs (which I record) pop into my head … when I’m washing up or in the car, or quite often at 3 o’clock in the morning which can be irritating, so I may start by listening through these and then begin to develop ideas.

I prefer to be on my own when I write as I like to sing and play without feeling inhibited by other people’s ears.  If it’s a rousing, moving song such as ‘This Could be the Moment’ from Sing with the Stars, I can get quite carried away and if the windows aren’t shut, the neighbours get a real treat!!  If it’s one of my sillier songs such as ‘Spooky Spider’ in Sing Make Believe Songs, then I definitely have to keep the windows closed or I would very quickly be whisked away by the men in white coats!!  I can also be seen dancing and leaping around to some of my action songs – just to make sure they work!  That is fine until the postman walks by the window when I am mid-leap!

On editing days, I am attached by a thread (aka my inbox) to Donald, the wonderful music editor who lives hundreds of miles away, as he tries to make sense of my music and bring it to a semblance of order!

I also work in schools, taking music workshops and on these days I am in full view leaping about with the children as we dance, sing and play instruments with great enthusiasm!  I love these sessions and the creativity the children bring to their music making is inspiring!

What is left of my day then involves squeezing in my mum, my husband, my daughters and my grandchildren and then all those mundane bits of life which we none of us can escape  … and so to bed!  Zzzzz!

Do you have a specific writing/composing process?

No, as with most of my life, it is all fairly erratic.  Having said that, maybe there is some kind of process happening … I usually work on the lyrics and music simultaneously.  Somehow I can’t seem to separate these out from each other, so they tend to grow and develop as one entity.  I sit at the piano to play and sing around an idea that is in my head, jotting things down on bits of paper, teasing out melodies and chords and words as I go along.  Although I do read music, I tend to play by ear and would certainly never sit and write anything out on a piece of manuscript paper.  But eventually, what is in my head has to make it into manuscript form if I want other people to be able to play/sing it, so I turn to my computer program which magically converts what is in my head into something legible (Donald may disagree!).  I would then record what I have written to send off for approval,  struggling I confess, to play from the music I have written (I would prefer to play straight from my head, but as this can change each time I play, I try to conform to what is on paper in front of me)!

Can you tell us some of the styles and influences on your work?

Not sure I’m allowed to do that as it would be advertising the competition – but there are some great children’s composers out there whose work I love!  There are also plenty of children’s songs which are dull and boring and a lot which are just old! It is surprising how many schools still stick with songs that have been around for decades (and they were boring in the first place!) because they lack the confidence or motivation to learn something new.  I think that’s a real shame and the children and staff really miss out on some exciting singing opportunities.  Many more, though, are beginning to realise the value of singing and its importance to school life.  There is a real buzz when you hear a singing school – and a confidence about the children when they sing!  Back to the question! I do, however, glean inspiration from all over the place.  Any music I listen to, be it jazz, folk, pop, classical, world music, whatever,  might pop an idea into my head – maybe a particular rhythm that sounds good or a musical phrase or chord sequence that jumps out at me.  Ideas for lyrics could come from anywhere, a phrase read in a story, a conversation on the radio, a picture that startles me, a walk in the countryside, a peaceful moment in the garden, the design on a pair of curtains, a giggle from a child…


Did you grow up in a musical household?

My dad always loved to sing, very enthusiastically – but not always in tune, but as children we were encouraged to learn to play instruments so I had piano lessons and played in a recorder group.  Like most children, I never wanted to practise and it wasn’t until we all agreed that I didn’t have to take music exams any more that I actually started to enjoy playing.

Was music something you studied formally?

Oops!  Think I tumbled into answering that one too soon!  So, yes, I took piano exams up to grade 5, but then carried on having lessons without the constraints of an exam syllabus and started having fun playing pieces up to around grade 8 standard.  Then followed the years which perhaps changed the way I play forever.  I stopped having lessons, stopped playing from music and started playing by ear.  I found a freedom to express myself musically which I had never known before and loved being able to play something which was all me – not my interpretation of somebody else!  I guess this is where the composer was born.  I taught myself to play the guitar and began to write songs, singing them wherever I could.

Was it always your ambition to reach young children with your music?

I have always loved working with and being around young children and I have always loved music, but it wasn’t until quite late on in my career that the two came together.  Working as a teaching assistant in a local infant school, the music co-ordinator had left and music was in danger of fizzling out.  I offered to take some percussion workshops which were used as a reward for the children who had been picked as ‘Stars of the Week’.  These were hugely successful and I began to put together my ideas for bringing music back into the classroom, writing a topic-based music scheme of work for the whole school which provided the children with lots of hands-on instrument playing and exciting music projects to engage with.  At the same time, I began writing songs for the school – a school anthem, which made the staff and parents cry every time the children sang it, and a song about the school motto. From the on teachers would say ‘do you know a song about …?’ and I would say ‘no, but I will write one’!  And so began the song writing for children.  I had a ready made quality control system in the children … they tend only to sing really well the songs that they really like.  And, fortunately for me, they seemed to like my songs!

Do you offer individual mentorship or workshops?

I work predominantly in schools, running music workshops for whole classes.  These are either one-off music sessions or longer term projects where I work with a class over a period of weeks, for instance, to create a composition which they can then perform.  This kind of workshop requires a lot of energy and organisation, and is the sort of thing that can be difficult for class teachers to fit in themselves on top of everything else that is demanded of them.  Many teachers have commented on the fact that as they are not responsible for running the sessions, it frees them up to really see what the children are capable of and they are frequently amazed by what even the very young children can achieve!

What reasons would you give for using your music?

As with all aspects of education, I do think it is crucial to constantly find new things to inspire, not to get stuck in ruts of doing something because that is how or what has always been done.  Therefore new music is always important to keep singing alive and vibrant.  Why use mine?  I always write for a reason, not on demand, and so I feel that all my music comes from inside me.  It therefore hopefully reflects my character and is original, genuine, quirky, funny or moving.  The children are the true test of my songs, and all the feedback I get is that they love to sing them.  I can’t ask for higher praise than that!

What are your hopes and intentions for the Sing series?

I would love for this series to take off in schools across the UK and beyond.  It provides songs for so many of the popular school topics, for supporting PSHE work and assemblies, for choirs and for singing in the classroom.  There are plenty of simple, catchy songs but also those with optional harmonies and second parts to stretch the more adventurous.  I do think there is something in here for pretty much every occasion, and hopefully more to come!

How long did the series take you to write/compose?

It is still ongoing really, as more are coming out this year and I hope to continue to write more books.  Some are songs I wrote when I was a teaching assistant, but most have been written in the last couple of years.

There's always one!

If you had to be a character in one of your musicals who would it be and why?

Hmm… that’s a tricky one!  I think it would either have to be Our Duckling from ‘There’s Always One’ or Shirley the Sheep in ‘The Fleas’ Christmas Story’.  Our Duckling is one of those characters you just can’t keep down – there is so much to explore and discover, he is all over the place, into everything, causing mayhem but loved by everyone!  Shirley only has a small part in the Christmas story, but her character comes across in the song ‘A very excited sheep’.  She, like Our Duckling, is so exuberant, that she just bursts out into bounces, hops and skips as she can’t contain her excitement about this new baby.  Maybe these choices reflect something of my character ?!  I blame my hair which has something of a wild and excitable nature!

What can we look forward to next from you?

The Drummer Boy is coming out very soon – a new Christmas musical for KS 2 children which I am very excited about.  There is scope not just for singing and acting but also for budding musicians to play their part too.

More books in the Sing series are on their way – one for each season.

And we are currently working on a big project which is due out in September. This is going to be a fully resourced topic based, but highly adaptable, scheme of work for children in Foundation Stage (F2) and Key Stage One.  There are six projects based on popular topics such as recycling, castles and gardens but all of them can easily be adapted to fit many other topics.  Each project will have a series of music lesson plans for each year group, a listening unit, musical stories and poems, songs and interactive elements.  All come with resources such as music clips, videos, power point presentations, pictures etc provided.  This is a huge project, not just for me but for the whole team at Kevin Mayhew, who are working fast and furiously and incredibly skilfully as I write!  I have done all the donkey work, but they are the ones who are about to bring it all to life!  Watch this space…

An interview with Colin Mawby

This week we are honoured to present an interview with Colin Mawby. He has worked with the London Mozart Players, the Wren Orchestra, Pro Cantione Antiqua, the Belgian Radio Choir and the BBC Singers and was also Master of Music at Westminster Cathedral, London (not to mention the most famous person that’s ever worked at KM!)

Colin Mawby

Can you tell me a bit about your childhood- do you come from a musical family?

I was brought up during World War 2 and have vivid memories of the bombing of Portsmouth where I lived.  My mother died when I was three and I was sent to Westminster Cathedral Choir School. George Malcolm was the choirmaster and he was a total inspiration to me. I learned most of what I know about music from the Choir School. My father was a convert – he was caught outside Portsmouth Catholic Cathedral in a rain storm and the only place he could shelter was inside. He went in and found himself in the middle of a Pontifical High Mass. He had never seen anything like it and went to the sacristy at its conclusion to ask what was going on.  This experience led to his conversion. My father remarried and Dad then decided to send me to the Choir School. He couldn’t afford the fees and the Parish Priest, a musician, offered to pay them. An extraordinary sequence of events.

Westminster Cathedral Choir School
Westminster Cathedral Choir School

Did you always want to play the organ and can you remember the first time you played?

I never had any ambition to play the organ – quite the contrary – I never wanted to be in the cathedral choir and tried my hardest to fail my voice test!  I explained that I didn’t know any songs and William Hyde, the then choirmaster, said that I must surely know the National Anthem. I fell into the trap and to my horror was accepted. I always get a good laugh about Cardinal Heenan who also took a voice test for the Choir School and was turned down. This would have been the highlight of Sir Richard Terry’s life – if only he had known!

George Malcolm obviously spotted a musical gift in me and asked me to play for Friday Compline in the Cathedral. I was able to accompany  the chant from the chant book and also improvise. This all seemed to me to be perfectly normal, something that all eleven year old boys did, it is only recently that I realise it is quite amazing. I then played for many Cathedral services as a boy.

You’ve performed for some extraordinary people including the Queen and John F Kennedy- would it be fair to say this carried a degree of anxiety?

I have conducted for extraordinary people but have never found it particularly nerve wracking.  Music totally takes one over and one forgets that there are eminent people in the audience.

What would you say has been the highlight of your career?

The highlight of my career was in Ireland. I founded the National Irish Chamber Choir and we developed a large educational programme. Part of it were two children’s operas which I composed and which were performed by schools. (Funded by the Arts Council of Ireland and the  Department of Education).They were totally professional performances– the children acted and sang the solos under professional direction. The choir acted as a ‘Greek Chorus’. Every year we performed with two disadvantaged schools and I remember a solo part being sung by a young girl with only 6 months to live and another occasion when a solo was taken by a girl who was paralysed as a result of a motor accident. (Drunken driving). She had also lost the power of speech but wanted to try and do the opera. She succeeded and it was deeply moving that my music had enabled her to speak and sing again. These were the two most memorable experiences of my life.

 ‘Tu Es Petrus’ was used for the papal inauguration, how did this make you feel?

I was delighted that my ‘Tu es Petrus’ was sung at the papal inauguration. The Director of the Sistine Choir asked me to write a ‘Tu es Petrus’ and the Sistine Choir has sung it on many occasions. I am amazed by all this! It’s a thrill to hear the Sistine Choir singing my work.

Papal Inauguration

You are quoted as saying that you can’t write choral music unless you work with choirs; that you have to write for particular people. Is it fair to say that your compositions have always been quite instinctive?

My composition is instinctive and I take no notice of musical fashion which I feel militates against the sense of the spiritual – it’s not sincere.   I try and write music that speaks to people’s souls, music that listeners can respond to emotionally and spiritually. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I don’t!

Whom do you admire?

The three people who have had a profound effect on my life, apart from my father, are George Malcolm, Wilfred Purney (a superb priest) and Cardinal John Carmel Heenan.

Cardinal John Carmel Heenan

What advice would you give a young organist who wanted to become a professional musician?

It’s very difficult to become a professional musician so the first step is to earn sufficient money from music to live on. Teaching, privately and in schools, is the way to do this. Also, try and become a church choirmaster and ask for proper wedding fees and a reasonable stipend.  When you are able to support yourself, then begin to develop the recital career.  Meet as many fellow musicians as you can and develop a really good social manner. Never be afraid to ask people to help you and always remember that one has to pay the electricity bill!

How did you come to work for Kevin Mayhew and can you tell me a bit about your time there?

When I returned to England in 2003 I needed a job to tide me over a difficult time in my life and Kevin offered me one.  I have always thought that he is a publishing genius. It was highly interesting to watch him at work.

Latin Motets - Book One

What sort of music do you listen to for pleasure, and are you fond of any recording artists?

I like listening to Bach, Elgar, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, basically I get enormous pleasure out of listening to most music.  I can’t single out recording artists – the standards are incredibly high.

Which of your works would you most like to be remembered for?

It’s difficult to single out a particular piece of music because I have written so much. I would like to be remembered as someone who has made a great contribution to sacred music. If my work moves people that’s wonderful – it’s a great privilege to compose and I thank God for the great success that I have had.

With special thanks to Colin for taking part in this interview

Why another recorder tutor?

Music Expo 2013 - Ready, Steady Recorder!

Music Education Expo 2013: KM’s Abbie Goldberg and Kevin Duncan with Martha Shrimpton

This week Sarah Watts talks a bit about her latest recorder tutor, Ready Steady Recorder, while we take a look at some of its offerings!

Red Hot Recorder has been immensely popular and much used- I hope it still will be, but eight years after its publication, I wanted to offer an alternative. Ready Steady Recorder is aimed at younger starters (ideally Year 2, but could be used for earlier years). It is colourful, has a larger font and moves a little slower– especially after G when many tutors speed up. The pieces (and the rhythm learning) are always reinforced by lyrics, and there is plenty of fun along the way with movement and humour. The book has the same ‘Feel good’ jazzy accompaniment, and the short pieces are repeated so they can be performed in a concert with singing, or just as recorder repertoire. There is a Grand Recorder March at the start of the book to inspire the student, and encourage them to move to the beat. An extravagant fanfare celebrates each new note learned, and everyone can ‘Take a bow’!

If that isn’t a good enough reason to purchase Ready Steady Recorder then here are 8 more!

It’s multi-purpose: from a song that will help children conquer any fear they might have of spiders, to a song that encourages exercise.

It comes with a good dose of magic: ‘Thoughts and dreams’, ‘Buttercups and butterflies’ and ‘Boating Lake Waltz’ are not only really magical, but have a really sophisticated sound that will make young players feel really grown up!

Includes lots of humour: It’s amazing how the note ‘A’ on a recorder fits the word ‘pong’ perfectly in the song ‘Smelly Cheese’.

I can’t imagine any young audience that wouldn’t want to dance to these songs as well…

…Equally I couldn’t imagine any adult/parent not wanting to give these tunes a go themselves. Especially those who played the recorder as a child. Trust me.

Even songs that use only one note manage to sound exciting!

It includes ‘Big band’ accompaniments: cue piano, xylophone, drums and cymbals adding extra ceremony and excitement to performance tracks to give star quality to young players !

My favourite ‘why not…?’ tip would have to be the one that suggests playing the recorder to your pet. I’m pleased to report that test subject ‘Buster’ (who’s been known to run from the hoover) was nonplussed (and I’m not nearly as capable a recorderist as those that will be using this super-duper book!)


With her impressively catchy songs and equally catchy titles- Sarah’s got recorder tutors down to a fine art. Ever upping the fun-factor, Sarah has created songs that children will be eager to learn and will want to play again and again. Here are pieces that somehow manage to stay simple whilst sounding advanced throughout. This book is also parent and teacher friendly- containing nothing that won’t be a joy to teach or to listen to!

Book Cover

Ready Steady Recorder is available from all good music shops. A full range of tutors by Sarah Watts is available from all good Music Shops or direct from Kevin Mayhew by phone (+44 (0)845 3881634) or website www.kevinmayhew.com/ready-steady-recorder.html

Your KM Blogger is Sarah Sibley with fabulous support from Abbie Goldberg!

A chat with Garth Hewitt

Garth Hewitt

Following on from Garth’s visit to the KM office last week, we decided an interview for our Blog was a must!  Below he discusses his latest album ‘Justice like a river’, working with  Cliff Richard, singing in Spanish and much more!

Garth Hewitt

‘Justice like a river’ is your 47th album!…will you be making a 48th, 49th, 50th?

Yes, I’m already thinking about the next two albums so I will keep you in the picture on this!

On the track ‘Feast your mind on what is pure’ Cliff Richard does the backing vocals– what was it like to work with him?

Cliff was always a really good person to work with, very natural, very friendly, and full of ideas. His voice has a great range, so for instance as well as the bit where you can hear him singing very clearly, in the hum at the end of the track, even though I’ve got the Jessy Dixon singers, Cliff was doing the lowest part in the hum. He very much enjoyed doing backing vocals and he did them for me on a couple of albums.

Justice Like a River by Garth Hewitt

With regards to your song writing process, what sort of things inspire you and when and where do you write?

In some ways I am a storyteller and so a story can spark me off. I’ve often picked up issues where I am telling the story of people who get forgotten. But I am inspired by poems, books, films, and probably most by people –and in my travels around the world I think probably people are what have inspired me the most. Some songs pay tribute to these people who I have met in different places.

I write in all sorts of places – if you see me scribbling on the back of an envelope in church or in a café, it means I’ve thought of something or I’ve just heard something which has sparked me off. A bookshop in Wivenhoe sparked off an idea recently.

At what age did you develop your love of music and writing and how did your education nurture these two passions?

My love of music came in my early teens and in my mid teens I took up guitar and joined or formed a couple of groups at school but didn’t start writing songs until I was at University. When it comes to writing books, of prayers etc. that came a little later. I don’t think education nurtured my love of music although maybe school did because of the different music I heard. But I suppose studying English at both school and University helped and gave me a love for poetry and the power of words.

You’re a self-proclaimed ‘Troubadour’ and you were also given special accreditation by the House of Poets in Ramallah.  Do you have any favourite poets?

This is an interesting question because you say I am a ‘self-proclaimed Troubadour’ and I think that depends how you interpret an album that I did, ‘Lonesome Troubadour’. In the end on that one I think there are several possible meanings and actually I am very happy with the term Troubadour.  I was thrilled that I was given the special accreditation by the House of Poets in Ramallah – yes I am a big fan of poetry and two of my favourites are Mahmoud Darwish, who himself was one of the House of Poets in Ramallah, and also Ernesto Cardenal in Nicaragua, who must be one of the greatest poets in the world and I’ve had the privilege of meeting with him.

Garth Hewitt - Performing

Who has been your favourite artist to work with and why?

I’ve enjoyed working with many artists and in all sorts of different ways, some because they are very creative, some because they are just good friends and nice to spend time with. It’s a little tricky for me to specify names in case I leave out someone who I’ve really enjoyed working with.  But I would mention that working with Jessy Dixon was very special, with his amazing heritage in gospel music.

On your album ‘Journeys with Garth Hewitt: Latin America’ (Myrrh 1989) you sing three songs in Spanish, can you tell me a bit about the album and its conception.

I did a whole album in Spanish which was released in Spain and also I believe some countries in Latin America. It was very difficult to do, I recorded it in Barcelona with a great musician Luis Alfredo, but I had a sore throat at the time and I don’t speak Spanish! He translated all my songs for me, and he coached me, but it was really hard. I’m really grateful he made me do it as particularly when I go to Nicaragua I like to include a song or two in Spanish, and occasionally now in the States because audiences can include a lot of Spanish-speaking people. The Spanish album was called ‘Un nino es el futuro’.

Journeys with Garth Hewitt

Where else have your travels taken you and is there a particular place that has special significance for you?

This is a difficult question to answer as I have travelled so much. I’m very grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to visit many different parts of the world and I feel great affection for different places and different communities. Bethlehem, Palestine is a good example, where I have godchildren; Managua, Nicaragua inspires me a lot because of the poetry and music there, and especially my friends there. I have been very affected by many visits to Africa, though because I have family including grandchildren in Durban, South Africa that is a place I like to visit. However when they took me on a holiday to Mozambique recently I hadn’t been there for twenty years and I found it an inspiring place and have written two songs there, ‘Full Moon over Mozambique’ and ‘God’s Revolution of love’. My first visit out of Europe was to Haiti and this was in the late ‘70s, and this had a huge impact on me because I began to realise myself the quantity of poverty that there is in our world. I think that had an effect on all that I did afterwards.

Do you feel your message has changed throughout your career as a musician or has it stayed the same?

Not really, though I think it has developed. I very inspired by hearing Martin Luther King when I was a teenager–  the wholeness of his Christian message has been something I’ve tried to reflect in the songs, and ‘Justice Like a River’ still stays on that theme.

You are also the author of eight books including ‘A Road Home’– a collaborative work with the artist, Daniel Bonnell. Would you say visual images have been a big inspiration for your writing across your career?

Yes, visual images do spark off songs and ideas for me. I like art and put paintings on the covers of several albums in the ‘90s.  ‘Walk the Talk’ had a picture from Ethiopia, and ‘Stronger than the Storm’ had a painting from Nicaragua where there are some wonderful artists. I’ve also been influenced and motivated by the work of certain graffiti artists.

Garth Hewitt Inspiration - Copyright Daniel Bonnell   Image © Daniel Bonnell

Tell me about your time as a director/board member of The Greenbelt Festival

After the first Greenbelt Festival a committee was formed which became the Board of Trustees of Greenbelt, and I was on the Board for the first twenty-five years. It was a very creative time as we tried to understand what we had got in this festival as we tried to shape its direction. I particularly felt it should be an arts festival with the social justice emphasis from a Christian viewpoint. I still enjoy Greenbelt, it has been a place that has helped to shape my thinking.

You are the founder of the human rights charity Amos Trust, can you tell me about their latest projects?

Amos Trust is working particularly in four parts of the world at the moment, with the Street Children project in Durban called ‘Umthombo’, and this has also spawned the Street Child World Cup which was held in Durban before the last Fifa World Cup, and is now being planned for Rio in 2014. Also, we work a lot in Palestine/Israel with organisations that work in human rights, reconciliation and non-violence training, and we support a hospital in Gaza. The latest project is a group of people going out to rebuild a demolished house – over 25,000 Palestinian homes have been demolished by the Israelis and this will be the second house we have helped to rebuild and it is an attempt to be both a protest and an encouragement. We are also working in Nicaragua supporting our partners there, both in education and agricultural projects and health. Also we work with a Dalit community (those formerly called ‘outcasts’) in a village in Tamil Nadu, and we work with Dalit Liberation Theologians.

Street Child World Cup - This is more than a Game

You are also a regular contributor to Radio 2’s Pause for thought…between writing, singing, charity work and broadcasting how do you relax- that is, if you do get any free time!?

I walk by the river (I live close to the Thames), I watch films, I read, and I like to spend time with family and grandchildren.

Any further ambitions or plans before retirement– if indeed you do ever retire?

Songs, tours, album recording, and more books – I’m not sure that I understand retirement without creating something.

Garth’s latest album ‘Justice like a river’ is available to purchase as a CD or download.  To listen to a sample of click here: www.kevinmayhew.com/justice-like-a-river-cd.html

More information about Garth, including tour dates can be found at his website:

Posted by Sarah

What are you giving up (or taking up!) for Lent?

Pick up and use Youth Work Resource for Church and SchoolThe Greatest Love Story Ever Told and then some by Rosie RushtonFeasts and Festivals by Claire Benton-Evans
Derek the ClericHiding in God by Annie HeppenstallThe Psalms - Translated by Nick King
Fruitfull by Suzi StockThe New Testament - Translated by Nicholas KingOur Earth, Our Home by Ellen Teague

A wise priest once told me, ‘Give vent to your creative bent this Lent’ – so this year, I’m going to start learning the ukulele! It will be the first musical instrument I’ve tried to learn since I gave up piano lessons at 15…it could be a long forty days and forty nights!
Claire Benton-Evans

I’m giving up the early morning cup of coffee, with a view to praying a bit more. And possibly abandoning alcohol…
Nicholas King

I like the idea of taking something up instead. I’m going to start a ‘thankful’ box. Basically each day I will try to write down a short thing I’m thankful for on a slip of paper and put it in a box or jar…. then at the end of the year I will read them through. I’ve heard of people who have done this and they say how positive and encouraging it is so I’m hoping I can keep it up!!
Suzi Stock

I’m going to make an effort to actually finish all the books I have on the go…that’s a biography, three poetry books and two novels at the moment!
Sarah Sibley (Copy Editor and Social Media Publicist)

I’m going to curb my sweet tooth- no more Humbugs, Skittles or Cola bottles!
Steven Gibbon (Website Manager)

Having stocked up on pancakes for yet another year I and my flock at St.Cliff’s are journeying through this season of Lent by abstaining from that firm favourite: chocolate.That my elevenses are invariably accompanied by a digestive biscuit covered with this now-forbidden treat makes this an even greater sacrifice for this humble clergyman. Between you and me, I had considered proposing that our discordant and cacophonous organist, Mrs Higginbottom, perhaps lay off ‘tinkling the ivories’ for this forty day fast but discretion got the better of me. Onward and upward.
Derek the Cleric

I’m going to try to give up crisps. It sounds like a small thing (and I know it is in the grand scheme of things) but I eat a lot of crisps! It will certainly make me think abut God most lunchtimes when I have my lunch.
Philip Eley

I’m giving up drinking tea!
Abbie Goldberg (Marketing Manager)

I’m going to try and give up fizzy drinks.
Kevin Duncan (Managing Director)

I’m ‘taking up’ rather than ‘giving up’, I want to re-awaken my musicality, which was always a real love of mine and also an important part of my prayer life, but it got a bit lost in recent years. I want to be able to replace ‘I used to play …’ with ‘I play’.
Annie Heppenstall

This Lent I will be attempting to reduce my use of my car by at least 50%, shopping more frequently from shops nearby to reduce wastage, and reading the Psalms cover to cover!
Rosie Rushton

I’m giving up having three sugars in my tea and sticking to two from now on!
Amanda Harker (Sales Coordinator)

I’m giving up junk food!
James Hare (Sales Coordinator)

I’ll be attending Pax Christi’s Ash Wednesday Vigil at the Ministry of Defence today to repent Britain’s Nuclear Weapons expenditure and nuclear threat. Throughout Lent I’ll support campaigns to stop more expenditure on Trident. Lent is a time for repentance and making peace.
Ellen Teague

Posted by Sarah 

New titles coming soon from Nicholas King, Annie Heppenstall and Claire Benton-Evans…watch this space! A range of ‘Derek the Cleric’ greetings cards are available from our trade site at trade.kevinmayhew.com/greetings-cards/derek-the-cleric.html. Books by all mentioned authors and more can be found on our website at: www.kevinmayhew.com.