New Chairman for Dorset Historic Churches Trust

DHCT 28th January 2019

The Dorset Historic Churches Trust (DHCT) is delighted to announce the appointment of John Stokoe CB CBE as its new chairman.

Since leaving the Army as a Major General in 1999, John has gained considerable commercial experience in the Private Sector, principally in the Construction, Science and Technology fields. He is an experienced non-executive director of NHS Foundation Trusts and is an ambassador for the Defence Medical Welfare Service. He was a churchwarden in Ashmore, Dorset and he and his wife now live in Sherborne.

John said: “I am really looking forward to working with DHCT as it builds on its strong reputation. Our historic church buildings face many challenges and the Trust’s goal is to preserve their heritage and sustain them into the future. We are determined that, wherever possible, our churches will be in good repair and able to serve the communities in a range of ways. 

DHCT is a major conservation charity in the county; its main fund-raiser is the annual Ride+Stride event in September, when supporters from nearly 200 churches and chapels of all denominations are sponsored to visit churches across the county on foot, on a bike or on a horse. This year the event raised over £85,000, enabling the Trust to budget over £110,000 for grants in the forthcoming year.

John Stokoe replaces out-going Chairman Simon Pomeroy who, after a long association with the Trust, has served as its Chairman for the last eight years. “I have very much enjoyed every moment of my involvement with DHCT.” Mr Pomeroy commented, adding;  “I salute the grit and determination of our riders and striders, the enormous generosity of their sponsors and the affection in which Dorset’s churches are held.”

John and Simon were both present at the Church of St Mary and St Bartholomew, Cranborne on Sunday 20th January, for the dedication by the Venerable Antony MacRow-Wood, Archdeacon of Dorset, of a beautiful new kitchenette and toilet, which were part-funded by a DHCT grant. 

Dr Richard Brown, Churchwarden Emeritus, who managed the project, thanked the Trust for its much-appreciated support and emphasised how important it is for churches to keep up with the needs of congregations in the 21st century. The new facilities follow a major upgrade to the lighting in the church, which was also grant-aided by the Trust a couple of years ago. “This work marks the completion of a long-held dream for Cranborne church,” said Dr Brown. “We look to the future with great optimism.”

Photo: In Cranborne church left to right  John Stokoe (DHCT Chairman), Elizabeth Wallis (Erskine Muton Trust), the Ven Antony MacRow-Wood (Archdeacon of Dorset), Simon Pomeroy (lately Chairman of DHCT) and Dr Richard Brown (former Churchwarden).

Editor’s Notes:

Dorset Historic Churches Trust (DHCT) exists to grant-aid maintenance work (eg keeping out wind and rain) for Dorset’s churches and chapels. In recent years, total annual grants have exceeded £110,000.

DHCT’s principal source of funds is the annual sponsored Ride+ Stride for Churches round the churches & chapels of Dorset. In 2018, nearly 175 parishes took part raising £85,000.


Christie Collins

McKenna Townsend

Tel:  01425 472 330

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