From Lambeth Palace to Barnsley for curate

22 May 2012

A curate who has swapped dealing with the world’s media for life in the parish has become a new chaplain at Barnsley Hospice. 

The reverend Neil Traynor, 41, who will be ordained as a priest this summer at St Mary with St Paul, Barnsley, has volunteered for the role at the hospice.
One of the cleric’s previous jobs was as a press officer at Lambeth Palace, the historic London residence of Church of England leader, the Archbishop of Canterbury.  Mr Traynor was involved in handling media enquiries from all over the world following the deaths of Princess Diana and Mother Teresa in 1997 and during the Millennium celebrations, all when George Carey was Archbishop.

Mr Traynor decided to join the clergy two years ago and his post as assistant curate at St Mary with St Paul is his first since finishing theological college.

He said:  “My decision was a long time in the making but everything came together a couple of years ago. Since moving to Barnsley, I’ve found the town to be a very warm and welcoming place.

“I first became involved with the hospice as St Mary’s holds the hospice’s annual ‘Light Up A Life’ remembrance services each Christmas, so has very close links. Volunteering as chaplain felt right – very few people have not had some kind of contact with the hospice, even if it’s just visiting one of the shops.”
Mr Traynor meets patients and families once a week in the hospice’s day care centre and stresses that he is happy to chat about faith or about any other subject, describing the hospice as a “place for living, not a place for dying.”

However Mr Traynor is available at other times, as and when needed, to offer spiritual support to patients and those closest to them. 

“I think it’s important that people know the clergy are here as a constant presence at all times in their lives if they need us,” he said.

Barnsley Hospice, at Gawber, has ten beds for inpatient care and provides day care in its Limes Unit.  Care is free for anyone in Barnsley with a life-threatening condition, not only cancer patients.

The wide range of hospice services includes specialist pain and symptom management, complementary therapies, counselling and support groups.

Mr Traynor, who originally hails from Greater Manchester, has also had previous jobs with The Princess Royal Trust for Carers and USPG: Anglicans in World Mission. He lives at Kingstone with his wife Jill, a community nurse, and four-year-old daughter Harriet.

The number of volunteers at Barnsley Hospice, which opened 18 years ago, recently reached 400 but more people are needed to help out. 

Volunteers carry out all manner of vital roles at the hospice both with direct contact with patients and their families and behind the scenes.  Jobs range from complementary therapy to gardening, driving, events and shop work in the hospice’s nine charity shops.

Anyone who is interested in volunteering should get in touch with volunteer services manager Barbara Cronin for an initial chat. Training is given. 

Ring Barbara on 01226 323620, email or visit

The hospice is also currently recruiting for a paid, part-time spiritual advisor to offer additional care to patients, carers and staff.


Attached picture shows Rev Neil Traynor at the hospice. He can be contacted for further information on:  01226 247899 or 07887 778757.

The hospice receives £1.6m from the NHS each year, but has to raise an additional £1.9m to stay open.

Media contact at the hospice for more information on this story is Barbara Cronin on 01226 323613 or at

Alternatively, ring Laura Conrad on 01226 244 244 (ext 263) or email

Additional media contacts: Deborah Wain on 07903 466228 or at or Kate Betts on 01226 766900 or 07792 764891 or at

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