St. Matthews, Bridgemary
St. Thomas the Apostle, Elson
St Matthew's & St Thomas' get a Curate

​​Hi there!
My name is Mary Kells (you can call me Mary, or Mother, or even Mother Mary,
but only if you promise not to burst into song – I’m very flexible, up to a point…).

Well, what would you like to know about me?
I’m married to Alastair Mansfield. Alastair is a chaplain in the Royal Navy, and we have one son, Aidan who is 13, and goes to boarding school in Bloxham, near Banbury.
I’m from Northern Ireland, although I left when I was 18, going first to Scotland, then to London. It’s an interesting business being an Irish migrant in London – I know because I wrote 100,000 words on it!
I also worked in the voluntary sector in London for over a decade, mostly in mental health, for various Mind organisations, and in advocacy, a community centre, and a children’s nursery association.
I left the voluntary sector when I had Aidan, and after being a full-time Mum for a bit, I decided to do something completely different and trained to be a garden designer. (My inspiration was the vicarage garden I was living in with my husband, then a parish priest. Oops! That sounds like I lived in the garden – not quite!)
Then Alastair joined the Navy, and we started moving around – Portsmouth, Gibraltar, Cornwall, Andover. I designed gardens in a few of these places, but in the midst of that, my vocation, which had first surfaced in my 20s while involved with university chaplaincy, returned with some vigour, and that led me to Ripon College, Cuddesdon and now to you!
Who was it that said, “The best is yet to come”…?

​Revd. Karen Mitchell, Deacon Mary Kells & Bishop Christopher
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