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A guide dog first for Carlisle Cathedral ordination service

A guide dog will take a supporting role at one of the Diocese of Carlisle’s Ordination services this weekend.

Bonnie the Labrador will lead owner Derek Vaughan and the Rev Mandy Jones in a procession in Carlisle Cathedral at the start of the Petertide Ordination Service.

Derek, who was registered as blind following an accident 30 years ago, is Mandy’s sponsor – a supportive role to represent their church’s congregation at St Andrew’s Penrith. The two have become friends since Mandy started in her role as Assistant Curate at the church last year.

Mandy, who was ordained Deacon in 2016 and who will be Priested at the service on Saturday, said: “It will be very special to have Derek – and Bonnie – alongside me for this. Derek’s friendship has been a real gift to me over the last 12 months. We meet up regularly for coffee after morning prayer for a chat and for me to get some Bonnie-therapy before the rest of the day!”

Derek and Bonnie have already visited the Cathedral for a rehearsal and plan to make a further walk-through ahead of the ordination service on Saturday afternoon.

“It is a wonderful honour to be asked to be a sponsor for Mandy and I accepted the role with grace, honour and humility,” said Derek, who lives in Penrith.

“The support for Mandy will not cease at ordination; that care will go on throughout her priesthood. As for Bonnie, well I’ve every confidence that she will be paw perfect on the day!”

Bonnie’s involvement is thought to be a first for ordination services at the Cathedral, with the Rev Canon Peter Clement, Diocesan Director of Ordinands, adding: “It will be wonderful to welcome Derek and Bonnie to this service and to see the valuable role they will play on the day, supporting Mandy in her continued faith journey.

“Our prayers will be with Mandy and all our other ordinands and their families at this time and in the future as they bear witness through ordained ministry.”

Linda Oliver, Engagement Officer for Guide Dogs Cumbria, said: “Our aim is to provide people with sight loss with the support they need to be able to move around safely and confidently, to get out of their homes and be able to live life the way they choose. Living with sight loss can be very challenging, so it is very rewarding to hear how Bonnie is helping Derek to live such a full and rewarding life.”

A general invite has gone out to everyone to attend the service at the Cathedral on Saturday, with refreshments served from 1.30pm prior to the service at 2.30pm.

Those to be ordained Priest by the Bishop of Carlisle, the Rt Rev’d James Newcome, are:

• Jonathan Gillespie to serve St Mary’s, Windermere, and Jesus Church, Troutbeck, with training incumbent David Wilmot
• Richard Goodfellow to serve the Benefice of Aspatria with Hayton and Gilcrux with training incumbent Tim Herbert
• Mandy Jones to serve Penrith Team Ministry with training incumbent Dave Sargent
• Gavin Rushton to serve St Thomas’, Kendal, with training incumbent George Briggs
• Andrew Simmons to serve St John’s Houghton and St Peter’s Kingmoor with training incumbent Andrew Towner

And on Sunday the Bishop of Penrith, the Rt Rev’d Robert Freeman, will lead the ordination of Alison Riley as Deacon, with training incumbent Robert Jackson. The service will take place at 10am.


Notes to editors
Deacon is one of the orders of ministry, to which all clergy in the Church of England are admitted. Some remain deacons all their lives but most are ordained priest usually a year after being ordained a deacon. Deacons have a full ministry in the Church of England but unlike priests, cannot preside at the Eucharist, pronounce the absolution or pronounce the Trinitarian blessing.


For further information contact Dave Roberts, Diocesan Communications Manager, on 07469 153658, 01768 807764 or at

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