‘Not just a personal honour but one for my home town’

Lay canon Robert Arckless in his parish church of St Cuthbert's in Amble.
Lay canon Robert Arckless in his parish church of St Cuthbert's in Amble.

An Amble man who has devoted time to the community and the church has spoken of his honour after being nominated for a prestigious role.

Robert Arckless has been appointed a lay canon of the Cathedral Church of St Nicholas in Newcastle.

The 54-year-old will attend a special installation service on April 21.

He said: “I was very surprised and very touched to be approached by Bishop Martin Wharton about becoming a lay canon.

“I am very honoured to be appointed.

“I have heard it referred to as the Church of England’s equivalent of the OBE.”

Mr Arckless is a long-serving councillor and a congregation member at St Cuthbert’s Parish Church in Amble.

He was nominated to become a lay canon for a number of reasons, including his service to the community and the contribution he has made to the life of the parish church.

But modest Mr Arckless said: “There are many others who are more deserving. I think of myself as an ordinary person in the pew. I am nobody special.”

He praised the role that the church has played in his life.

Mr Arckless said: “The parish church and the church family in Amble have been very important to me for more than 30 years.

“They have supported me through good and bad times.

“I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to make a contribution to the community where I was born and grew up and see this as an honour for my parish and my home town rather than for me.”

A lay canon is appointed for an initial term of five years, which is then renewable.

People have to retire from the role at 70.

John Sinclair, residentiary canon of Newcastle Cathedral, paid tribute to Mr Arckless and his appointment.

He said: “The cathedral chapter is delighted that the bishop has nominated Robert to be a lay canon.

“We look forward to having his wisdom on our council of canons.”

Former Amble vicar, Alastair MacNaughton, has been appointed as an honorary canon.