The Ambler

Amble's Community Newspaper: News & events from Amble in Northumberland – The Kindliest Port.

Rev Diane Westmoreland bids farewell to Amble

After eight years as vicar of St Cuthbert’s Church, Rev Diane Westmoreland is moving on to a new Parish.
Rev Diane as she was affectionately known by Rev-Dianehundreds of local schoolchildren, is taking up a new post in Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire.

Originally from Tadcaster, Diane was ordained in 1998. Before moving to Amble in 2008, she and her husband lived in York, and found the move to the Friendliest Port a refreshing change.

“It was so different to walk into a local shop and be greeted in such a friendly manner,” said Diane. “I loved how people still greeted each other in the street. It was very different from my time in York when some shopkeepers hardly looked at you when they gave you your change.”

Diane’s own friendly nature was reflected in her request for the schoolchildren to call her Rev Diane.
“I found a real welcome and friendship in the First Schools and Brambles. I didn’t want to be known as Reverend Westmoreland by such young children. It’s wonderful to walk around town and hear a young voice call out: ‘Hello Rev Diane’. One or two people in the congregation still call me Vicar, but most people have always called me Diane.”

Asked what she felt stood out from her time at St Cuthbert’s, Diane has no hesitation: “I think my biggest achievement in Amble has been to help the parish church understand itself as the church for the parish, serving the community.

“One thing that symbolises that is the fact that now the church is unlocked during the day. So many people have commented on this and we know people now use the church during the day. When I came here, it was locked. It took a bit of persuading.

“Amble has changed since I’ve lived here. People said it was rough at night and there was a lot of vandalism. I couldn’t see much evidence of bad behaviour. As an incomer, I thought ‘it looks pretty peaceful to me!’

The church has been unlocked for more than six years now. We have glass on the inside doors to make it look less intimidating for people to come in. I think you have to have a more trusting mindset.”
Instigating change has been the hardest part of Diane’s time at St Cuthbert’s, but she points out that the church has changed in many ways since it was built in 1870.

“If you look at the history of St Cuthbert’s, it’s one of continual change since the Victorian age,” she says. “There was no electric lighting or heating, there was no chancel or screen. It looked very different. The choir stalls came from the chapel of the Good Shepherd in Radcliffe, which was bombed in WW2. They were put in in 1942. I’ve just played my part in developing the church.”

Diane has very much enjoyed her time at St Cuthbert’s. She will particularly miss the sea, and walking along the beach at Hauxley.

“It’s been a wonderful experience living by the sea. That has been a great blessing. It will be a wrench to leave the people, the community and the life and friends I’ve made in Amble.”

We wish her the very best in her new ministry in North Yorkshire.

Anna Williams

1 Comment

  1. Diane,
    I have just caught up with the news that you will be leaving Amble for Boroughbridge. In terms of how we view distance in Australia that’s not very far, but in the UK I guess it could seem to be several cultural time zones.
    I have made comments to you personally during past visits that Marion & I have made to Amble about our personal regard for you and how grateful we both are for how you looked after Dorothy & Bill during your home visits to them over several years.
    I don’t consider myself to be a religious person but I certainly look up to you as a Minister who completely fulfills my idea of what a Christian should be and I’m sure that the values you will take to Boroughbridge will be a huge asset to that area.
    We hope that you enjoy your new posting and have many years of rewarding interaction with the people you will be ministering to.
    Amble is in our opinion, loosing a person who has helped build what we see as a strong and energetic community that can only get better with the foundations you have been a part of providing.
    All our best
    Brian & Marion Dobson

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