Local Face: Peter Swindlehurst

  |  Published: Jul 26th 2006

Peter Swindlehurst was born in Aintree, Liverpool in 1936 and lived nearby until joining the RAF in 1960.  He has one brother, Tony, who now lives overseas.  Peter was educated by the Irish Christian Brothers at St. Mary’s College, Crosby and then became an engineering ‘student apprentice’ with D. Napier & Son, mainly involved with aero-engine development work, with engineering education at City of Liverpool College of Technology.

Peter was a Royal Air Force Engineer Officer from 1960 – 1987, after which he worked at the Engineering Council as head of Education and Training He now does part-time consultancy work for the UK Inter Professional Group and for a number of engineering education bodies.

Peter’s work in the RAF covered a wide range of aero-systems engineering work, logistics staff work, and education and training, both in UK and overseas.  He is a Staff College graduate.  He was seconded to the newly formed Zambia Air Force, shortly after independence, where he had the opportunity to work not just with the local military and civil authorities but also with the local Franciscan Missions.

In 1977, having been the senior engineer officer at RAF Gutersloh in Germany, he returned to UK to RAF Halton to be the Senior Training Officer of the RAF’s No. 1 School of Technical Training at RAF Halton.  He met his wife Penelope, who was a Sister in Princess Mary’s RAF Nursing Service whilst at Halton.  They settled in Wendover and have lived on the Aylesbury Road since 1987.  Their son, Aidan, now lives in Brighton.

Peter and Penelope have both been involved in many local voluntary and church activities, the latter mainly centred on the Chaplaincy churches at RAF Halton.  Peter is probably best known for his role in Buckinghamshire St John Ambulance, where for many years he managed the public duty operations work and liaison with the NHS Ambulance Service and Local Authorities.  Peter’s education for ministry has been through a Theology MA at Heythrop College of London University, and through the Southern Dioceses’ Diaconate Programme based at St John’s Seminary, Wonersh, supported by local tutors.

Although ordained to be a Deacon of Northampton Diocese, Peter’s diaconal ministry will primarily be in support of the RAF Chaplaincy, particularly at RAF Halton and High Wycombe and for Service families in the local area.  Because of this, and his long term connection with the RC Church in the RAF, and with the permission of the local Bishop, Peter’s ordination was by the Bishop-in-Ordinary to HM Forces, Right Reverend Thomas Burns SM at the RAF RC Memorial Church of the Holy Family RAF Halton on 10 June 2006.


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