Harry Potter link for new Blackpool chaplain

Rev Jonathan Sewell.
Rev Jonathan Sewell.
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From working as a prison chaplain, youth worker, bee keeper and yacht skipper to appearing as an extra in Harry Potter films, Casualty and Midsomer Murders, Rev Jonathan Sewell has had a particularly colourful career.

nd his new post as lead chaplain for Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust promises to be just as varied.

Anglican Priest Jonathan said he was “amazed, pleased and delighted” to be taking up the role. His new job builds on 30 years of ministry in very tough and diverse situations with people living and working under considerable stress.

Jonathan said: “Chaplains look to walk alongside patients, families and staff as they go through times of trauma and transition, providing spiritual care for the individual rather than treatment for the condition.”

In particular, Jonathan hopes to broaden the base of volunteers to include a wider range of world faiths and languages.

Jonathan, 55, said: “Chaplaincy is something that resonates with many people. The majority of people don’t go to church, but when faced with life-changing situations, it seems to me that your spirituality has to be addressed in some manner. It’s essential for our humanity.”

He said he is looking forward to working with the Trust’s Chaplaincy team members: “It’s a small team and I’m going to work with their values and develop the team further.

“The NHS is in transition. People will always need health care and it’s about how you engage with that process in a positive way.”

Jonathan was born and brought up in rural Cumbria where his father, Michael Sewell, ran a limestone quarry. He was ordained 30 years ago at Derby Cathedral.

A keen actor and tenor singer, Jonathan has recently worked in Liverpool as an extra on the latest Harry Potter movie while waiting to take up his new post.

He has also appeared as a Chaplain in Being Human, as a teacher in Casualty, man in Pub in Midsomer Murders and dined at High Table for Lewis.

He has worked in HMP Garth at Leyland, in parishes at Enfield, Winchester and Oxford where he also developed his acting talents as a member of the Oxford Operatic Society and was a regular broadcaster on BBC Oxford.

When Jonathan was in Winchester he organised a youth festival on the island of Sark and he also developed a passion for sailing. He is now a Royal Yachting Association Yachtmaster Instructor.

He has also taught sailing in Scotland, on the south coast of the UK and delivering yachts in the Mediterranean. A year ago Jonathan was teaching sailing in the British Virgin Islands.

He is now “energised” at the prospect of his new job and is hoping to have a positive impact on the life and work of the Trust.

He added: “There are tough financial decisions to be made in the NHS and I hope the Chaplaincy can reflect the bigger picture of a sense of purpose as to why we do what we do and celebrate the small successes that we achieve within our lives, recognising and rejoicing when miracles take place.”