Friends of Luton Parish Church

About us

  • Clifford Bygrave, Chair

    Clifford Bygrave is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales, a Chartered Tax Adviser and  Member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners. He has been a Trustee of the Friends for a number of years, having held the office of Treasurer for over 20 years before becoming Chairman of the Trust. He is a member of the Methodist Church, the National Treasurer of the Boys’ Brigade, and a Non-Executive Director of the Luton & Dunstable Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

  • Nic Pestell, Secretary

    Nic heads up the Private Client Team at local law firm, Machins, specialising in wills, trusts and estates. Nic is married to Louise and they have three 'grown-up' children. Nic and Louise are also both actively involved in Grace Community Church Bedford, their home town, where Nic serves on the leadership team. When managing to find some spare time Nic enjoys many hobbies including music, sport (supporting Luton Town and Chelsea),skiing, shooting and restoring classic cars.

  • John Spurgeon, Treasurer

    John joined the St Mary's family on starting an academic course next door, not long after the inception of 'The Friends' under Lord Hill. He can recall forming a guard of honour with the choir as the Queen and royal family annually attended for matins when visiting Luton Hoo. Having a fascination for our built and natural heritage, fostered through maps, he naturally entered local government as a planner and recently retired from his work with major applications and projects. He is keen to see St Mary's move forward with fine worship in a superb building. His interests of choral singing, walking and cycling, scripture distribution, meteorology, visiting the UK, heritage railways, organ music, The Hatters and visiting relatives (especially younger ones) makes life rather hectic, but you may as well do it while you can!

  • Andrew Beale, Communications

    Andrew has been involved with Friends of Luton Parish Church since 2014, and a Trustee since 2016. He is the Managing Director of Beales Hotels, a family business that dates back eight generations to 1769 (www.bealeshotels.co.uk) and Chair of Youthscape, the large Luton Youthwork charity (www.youthscape.co.uk). St Mary’s Church has been a big part of Andrew's life for over a dozen years, playing the cello on stage, fundraising for the young people of the church, trying not to fall asleep in church finance meetings, organising Church walking weekends, and loitering in disreputable curry houses with assorted St Mary’s menfolk. He describes the church as "an amazing building filled with brilliant people, in the prime position in Luton and a place blessed with the ability to change lives". When not doing any of the above, he can be found messing about on the River Great Ouse in his boat, or walking and climbing in the Alps. He lives in Hertfordshire with his family.

  • Trevor Askew, Executive Committee

    Trevor spent his working career with Barclays Bank, mostly in Luton and with various roles. After taking early retirement in 1997 he became self-employed providing financially orientated services. Married to Elizabeth and with two sons, Trevor has lived all but 4 years of his 48 year married life in Luton. He joined the committee of the Friends in about 1988 to help preserve and keep relevant the only Grade 1 listed building in the town. Interests include being a season ticket holder at Luton Town, a pastime which helps to build resilience to disappointment and despair. He also enjoys playing snooker, cycling, fishing, gardening and being a Grandad.

  • Ralph Gough, Executive Committee

    Ralph is a member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, and spent many years working for local companies, including George Kent and SKF. With a lifelong interest in theatre and the arts, Ralph has trodden the boards with several local amateur companies, and for many years held office with the now defunct Luton Arts Council. He is a regular volunteer at Shakespeare's Globe in London and at the Shuttleworth Trust at Old Warden. A member of St Mary's for 20 years, Ralph chairs the church's Buildings Committee, and once a month he pounds the pavements of night-time Luton as a Street Pastor.

  • Revd Mike Jones, in attendance, representing St Mary’s Church

    Mike has been vicar of St Mary’s since 2012 and is best known in Luton for being the vicar “who got run over and had a car lifted off him”. Mike loves coffee, food and working with people from different cultures. He has had a varied career working in Christian ministry in a council estate, a village, suburbia, a city & now a town centre in England and also Greece. Before that he worked as an instructor in a school and in finance. Mike enjoys the life and vibrancy of Luton and is married to Ruth who is an Interior Designer & teacher. They have two children – Alex who is studying an Open Uni degree and Chris who is at school.

  • Revd Andrew Gardner, in attendance, representing St Mary’s Church

    After a long career in ‘High Tech’ and having been part of Soul Survivor Watford Church since it started, Andy made the short journey up the M1 and is now Curate at St. Mary’s Church in Luton.  He is married to Joanna who is a teacher, has two grown up sons and enjoys hill walking and Scuba diving (but not both at the same time). Andy studied Physics at university and has recently completed a Theology degree at St. Mellitus college. He is passionate about helping young people be the best that they can be and is looking forward to bringing his experience in both business and church leadership to the Friends of Luton Parish Church.

  • John Childs, Executive committee

    John Childs and his family started worshiping at St Marys in 1969. His daughters attended Sunday school and then subsequently joined Guides and the youth church groups. He was a member for many years of the PCC and its various committees. In 1974 John Dandy chairman of the Friends of St Marys asked him to join the committee of the Friends. John was made a Trustee of the Steel Charitable Trust in 1995 when. Marjorie Steel the (late) Patron who had supported the church strongly retired. John felt privileged to be able to continue to oversee that support up to his retirement from the trust last year. John and his wife Christine moved to Silsoe in 2000 and have fully entered into village life but he continues his support of the Friends Committee and its efforts to help St Marys PCC maintain the fabric of this beautiful church.