My day: No two days are the same for me. The variety of work I’m engaged in certainly keeps me on my toes.
Since arriving in Chester just under two years ago I have developed the habit of walking the walls each morning at about 6am. This has proved to be a wonderful opportunity to think and occasionally pray. It’s been a delight to see the city ‘waking up’ and to observe the different seasons and the variety of people who walk and run at differing frequencies.
I’m usually at my desk between 7-7.30am and try to sort as much administration as possible before Morning Prayer at 8.30am followed by a daily staff meeting.
At 9.15am I attend a meeting with our asset managers to discuss tenancies, estate maintenance and how best to move forward with regard to building restoration. (It’s a bit like managing Downton Abbey, only bigger!) From 2pm, I attend and co-chair the Cathedral at Height project steering group. My primary role is to ensure that this £1.4 million project is delivered on time and within budget and the required standards.
By 4pm I’m in a catch up meeting with our executive direct to look at the figures of our commercial operations and address any HR issues that require attention. At 5.30pm, I lead Choral Evensong in the Cathedral. A wonderful way to end the day with plenty of space and beautiful music to stop and reflect.
Dress: Apart from my clerical collar the only unusual addition would be my cassock and surplice at evensong each day.
What is the favourite part of your job? There are two distinct parts to my job. One aspect involves the day to day running of the cathedral operation In this area of work I love problem solving and trying to move situations forward. The second part of the job relates to all that comes with being a worshipping community at the heart of a vibrant city. Engaging with people, listening to their concerns, praying with them and helping them to make sense of life in a complex and at times stressful world.
What would be your dream job if you weren't doing what you do now? Heading up an international development agency in Africa to establish sustainable development projects. I helped establish a teacher skill share programme seven years ago taking UK teacher over to Malawi to help with the professional development of Malawian teachers. This continues to provide significant help for many teachers in the 7th poorest country in the world.
How do you relax when you are not working? Walking and cycling and when time permits I love to ski.
What is your favourite film? Chocolat , Dead Poets Society or Invictus .
What is your favourite book? Long Walk to Freedom - Nelson Mandela or any of the Dan Brown series.
What is your favourite song? Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody , the songs of Tom Lehrer and Let us Garlands Bring by Gerald Finzi.
If a film was made of your life, who would you like to play you? Downton Abbey actor Allen Leech (Tom Branson).
Have you had your 15 minutes of fame? I once had a monthly one hour slot on BBC Radio WM with a colleague of mine entitled ‘the Loose Canons’. Great fun!
Name: Peter Howell-Jones
Education: Hillfoot Hey Comprehensive School; Huddersfield School of Music (trained as a singer and classical conductor); St John’s College Nottingham (for my theological training); Currently studying for a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)
Family life: Married to Sian with four grown up children (two boys & two girls)