A&B News History
Newspaper for the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton
Feb 2016 edition of the A & B News - Page
Thank You and Good Luck to Fergus Brotherton Diocesan Financial Secretary for 29 years FERGUS BROTHERTON - A REFLECTION FROM CARDINAL CORMAC I am delighted to pay a tribute to Fergus on the occasion of his retirement as Financial Secretary for the A&B Diocese. I remember his appointment very well indeed and the care that was taken in choosing the right person for this job. Fergus was the first lay person to undertake this important post and there were many consultations with clergy and others before he was appointed. For my part, I was always pretty sure that Fergus should get the job. He did extremely well at the interview and had had very good experience in the financial world - and it did not come amiss that he happened to be educated at my old school! Anyway, Fergus, thank you so much for all you have done for the Diocese over the past 29 years and I hope you have a long and happy retirement. You will have a special prayer from me on the date of your retirement on 31 December. With kindest wishes to you and your wife, Cecily. From business colleagues who have been associated with Fergus Best wishes Fergus We have enjoyed working with you for the past 18 years in caring for the Cathedral Church building. From all of us at St.Anns Gate Architects. Antony Feltham-King ARCHITECT/PRINCIPAL, RIBA GradDiplConsAA AABC A Memory from Mgr Canon John Hull Fergus joined the Diocese on 9 June 1986. In his time he introduced the computer into the Finance Office and gradually communicated by email. He is always the first in and last out of Bishops House, preferring to travel by train from Worthing and walking from Hove Station, rather than driving. He has served three Bishops and provided solid advice to Parishes and Schools. His patience with clergy is exemplary, always trying to find a way to solve some of the problems which may arise when dealing with projects. His dedication has won him the respect of the whole of this Diocese and of many others further afield. He has been instrumental in the establishment of the purchasing consortium, Church Marketplace and other ventures. His ability to pull something out of the hat was exemplified in the financing of the Festival 50 last July. His association with the Dioceses of the South of England will be manifested as he takes on the role as Secretary of the Historic Churches Committee. Thank you Fergus for all that you have done over 29 years and my prayers are with you, your wife and family for the future. Mgr Canon John Hull, Moderator of the Curia A&B NEWS February 2016 7 Fr Ian Byrnes My Thoughts of a Supporting Friend As I now put print to paper thinking of someone, in particular, who over the years has really supporting me in the Diocese. This person has help me to understanding the meaning of been a parish priest, chaplain and an administrator - all in one. I wish I had some of his guidance in the seminary before I came to the Diocese! His name is Fergus Brotherton. If I had any concerns about financial matters relating to the parish, the deanery or the deaf community - he would be my first point of call. In particular, he helped me in a few single parishes to concentrate in putting them on a firm financial footing. Also, he guided me to bring two parishes together, where there was a lot of opposition by a few. And finally, he was a wonderful support to me while I was outside the Diocese, either living in Peru for six and half years or on my fourteen month sabbatical. May I thank you Fergus and wish you well in your new ministry in the Dioceses of the South of England as Secretary of the Historic Churches Committee. I would sincerely hope that we will keep in touch. Be assured of my prayers for you, Cecily and family. Picture: Standing l to r - Mgr Jeff Scott, Mgr John Hull, Fergus Brotherton and Mgr Arthur Iggleden. Seated l to r - Bishop Cormac and the Papal Nuncio, Luigi Barbarito The Diocese owes a very great debt of gratitude to Fergus Brotherton, who has retired from the Finance Office after 29 years of dedicated service. His guidance to so many priests and parish finance committees over those years, covering a huge range of topics from accounting to building projects, has been truly invaluable. The task of being a Diocesan Financial Secretary is specialised in a number of ways, not least the requirement to understand the lives of priests and the parishes they serve. In Fergus we have been blessed with someone who has brought humanity and humour to the role and shown a real dedication to the life of the Diocese and, indeed, to the wider Church. Fergus many talents will not be lost to the Church, as he moves on to new responsibilities with the Historic Churches Committee. This body serves the Dioceses of the South of England and our own Diocesan family will continue to benefit from his wise guidance in the care the development of our churches. I know I speak on behalf of everyone when I assure Fergus of our prayers and good wishes for all that lies ahead. Some of our Parish communities pay tribute He is held in great affection by the clergy, and by parish treasurers and finance committees, who will remember with great gratitude his good humour, helpful advice and gentle guidance. His courtesy and tolerance always made our understanding and operation of the routines much easier and without his guidance we might have been at a complete loss on too many occasions. Thank you very much, Fergus, for your friendship and for the help received from you on so many occasions over the years. Bishop Richard pays tribute to Fergus Fergus with his successor, Sarah Kilmartin and centre, Bishop Richard
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Fergus Brotherton - the quietly spoken, bespectacled, almost slender figure that I met when I joined the St Cuthmanís Management Committee - hid behind a pin sharp appreciation of all matters to do with the 300 piece property portfolio that houses our Diocese. He asked me to attend a seminar on the use of Lake Source Heat Pumps and, whilst the prospect of saving carbon excited me together with the nuts and bolts of the scheme, his eyes were firmly focussed on the financial benefits. The Diocesan Finance Committee were duly informed about the benefits to St Cuthmans, agreed the principle and, after many weeks work on site, we switched on the first Diocesan Lake Source Heat Pump installation to keep warm the fabric and people that use this Jacobean retreat - pictured.* Thanks to the Governments RHI initiative we will now obtain at least a 300% return on investment over the next 20 years and save Sussex from being polluted with many tonnes of carbon - a fine legacy of a wonderful career as Financial Secretary! *The ground in the forefront has now been restored Fergus has been a member of our St Cuthmans Management Committee for some 10 years and has always been supportive of our aims and objectives to widen the scope of its appeal - to be a quiet place for people of all faiths and of none, in providing a spiritual setting for them to seek renewal. As you can imagine with a large estate and a Jacobean house to maintain, finance has often been a practical issue in attempting to balance the budget and with an old character property such as we have at Coolham. Unforeseen expenditure, for example dredging the lake or fixing the roof, would often blow the budget. In this respect, we are indeed grateful to Fergus for steering our pleas through the Diocesan Finance Committee (DFC) One of our major achievements on the financial side was to convince the DFC and the Trustees to recognise that St Cuthmans provides many facilities of a spiritual nature, which cannot be priced into the daily tariff and Fergus played a leading role in obtaining the Trustees permission for a spiritual grant to cover these costs. We all at St Cuthmans enjoyed Fergus friendship and wise counsel, and we all wish him well in his retirement - or, rather, his new position! Fergus is pictured cuting the cake at his retirement party at St Cuthmans Mary Reynolds, recently retired Director of our Catholic Schools Service Fergus, wishing you a long and happy retirement. Thanks for the years of working collaboratively to try to make limited funding for schools stretch as far as we could. With every good wish for the next chapter. Fergus has always given great input and importance to Gift Aid for our Diocese - and has actively made strong representations to HMRC at national level on behalf of all our Catholic Diocese on a variety of matters. For instance, thanks to his efforts, we have been able to ensure that Gift Aid is applied to as many church collections as possible, such as Christmas and Easter offerings for our priests, some of which were in jeopardy of being dis-allowed. It was Fergus who agreed for us to be the first diocese in the country to test and start using a bespoke, online system called GiftWise - which has transformed the way in which our Gift Aid reclaim is made. Instead of every parish and school waiting a year or more for the Gift Aid to be paid, the new system allows input directly by each Gift Aid organiser and claim is made electronically to HMRC every month by the Gift Aid Department. The reclaim distributed is on a monthly basis. Thanks to Fergus, our parishes and schools have benefitted from this regular and reliable cash flow. Each month I report the figures to him - and it is heartening to see the smile on his face that this annual flow of almost £1.5m brings! We will truly miss Fergus and his solid, rock-like support - with his office door always open and a vast source of informed guidance to offer.. Contributions from our diocesan colleagues A&B NEWS February 2016 8 Fergus Brotherton has supported diocesan schools tirelessly for the past twenty-nine years in his role as Diocesan Financial Secretary. Although based in Bishops House in Hove, Fergus is a regular visitor to DA BCEC, in Crawley - usually because he is supporting the Education Service and /or diocesan schools in his very efficient, modest manner which is so highly valued by all! There are few schools which have not approached Fergus at some time or other for advice, and he has helped many a school over the years with their queries around funding, insurance, etc. Fergus has been a key member of the Diocesan Academies Strategic Board and has helped to drive the process forward to where we are now; setting up our first diocesan MAT, which will hopefully be open for business by September! The Education Committee has also benefited greatly from Ferguss wisdom and insight. His insights are perceptive - as are his gentle reminders about costs! Fergus has supported many within the diocesan schools community, and all of us have appreciated his genuine interest, his warm sense of humour, the number of times he has managed to say yes to request for financial help - and his ability to say NO kindly! Fergus; we wish you every happiness and success in your new role as Secretary to the Southern Historic Churches Committee, and thank you most warmly for your service to, and support of, diocesan schools. You will be much missed. Gift Aid AGM 2013 Fergus with Sue Rickard David Dethick, Member, St Cuthmans Management Committee Diocesan Catholic Schools Service Chris Bleasdale, Chairman, St Cuthmans Management Committee Sue Rickard, Diocesan Gift Aid Coordinator From business colleagues who have been associated with Fergus I have had the pleasure of working with Fergus on a number of challenging planning applications and projects which have had a s uccessful outcome, even those dealt with by way of plan- ning appeals. Fergus has always sought my professional advice and it has been a pleasure to bring a number of projects to a sat isfactorily conclusion. Fergus` knowledge and financial expert- ise has been a credit to the Trustees of the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton. I will miss him in his role as a client, however I know that our long established friendship will continue. Kind Regards Roger Jones, The Tomei and Mackley Partnership LLP Fergus It has been a privilege to work with you over the last 15 years. Thank you. With best wishes for your retirement from A&B, and with your role at HCC. Nicki Worley, Safety Toolbox Ltd
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Admittedly, it had taken a few conversations to persuade this retiring man to be subject of a feature but, having got there, the welcome was warm and inviting. With his office door closed, it was time to talk about himself. What is your family background and why are you called Fergus when your first name is John? My life started in Beckenham in August 1949. My father was a GP and my mother, who came from Dublin, was a radiographer. With my mothers heritage, perhaps this is why I can relate to our Irish priests in the diocese! My first memory was playing with my younger brother. I am the eldest of four children three brothers and one sister. Do we follow each other in careers? No, not really. My sister is a teacher; one of my brothers is a retired warehouse worker; one was a partner is a firm of solicitors, who gave it all up to become a very contented postman. Yes, I was christened John in the Irish tradition of being named after my father but, to stop confusion, my middle name has been used from the start. Do you come from the village of Brotherton in North Yorkshire? A rare smile came across Fergus face as he dwelt on this question. Absolutely no! I once took my son there and Im not sure if wed want to return! What about education? I was very fortunate as my parents were able to send me to Prior Park College in Bath, one of the UKs top independent co- educational Catholic colleges. Are you married or did you not have time for such distractions? Your correspondent was doing well two smiles in the first 10 minutes! But what came next was a surprise. Yes, I have been happily married for 34 years to Cecily. Where did we meet? It was in a disco in London! We are blessed with our son, Edmund - who is 28 and an IT manager - and Emily 32, who is a nurse and married in Glasgow. Our house in Worthing was the one we acquired when I took on the Diocesan position. You have many qualifications BSc, MBA, CEng and MIStructE. Were you one of those compulsive exam takers? My first profession was in civil/structural engineering and then, as the need arose, I added other qualifications to my list. Having spent 4 years in Iran, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, I feel I have an understanding of what is going on today with the refugee situation. There was never any sign of unrest then and today the distortion of Islam by extremists is nothing short of tragic. Can you remember back to your interview for the Financial Secretarys position 29 years ago? It is one of my strongest memories! I remember it being very formal. In fact I had three interviews in all. One with the Council of Administration, another with the College of Consultors and finally with the Bishop (Cormac) and his advisors. ( see message from (now) Cardinal Cormac on front of this appreciation)) I succeeded Mgr Terry Stonehill (see picture) who I will never forget for his generous advice and introducing me to all the facets of the Diocese. I was the first lay person to take on this role as, historically, it had always been a clerical post. The job was split into two one part being property management and the other being financial. Looking back, property initially was the big topic, but now over 29 years finance has taken prominence. Were you surprised you got the job and did a liveried footman come to your door with a scroll inviting you to join? Yes I was extremely surprised! No scroll I just had a call from Fr Terry soon after my last interview. I was in my mid 30s and the big change for me was learning quickly about legal matters, which would surround my new post. My department, consisting of six, was spread out in Bishops House and in a building down the road. It took years to get everyone together; so much better for the working environment. As you said, you were the first lay person to hold this post in the Diocese. Was there any resentment? I would rather say that there were reservations and not resentment. Generally, the thought at the time was that the laity did not understand the clergy. But Fr Terry was a huge help in allaying these fears. Another change at that time was the arrival of John Ryan, the first lay person to head up schools. Are you still doing the same job 29 years later? Absolutely not! There was a revolution with the introduction of the 1995 Charities Act in accounting matters. Before then we had a very loose arrangement with the Government. With the introduction of the Act, we had to return audited accounts for the very first time. This may not sound dramatic to readers but, from nothing before 1995, by 1997 we were having to submit consolidated accounts with returns from over 100 parishes, 30 connected trusts, 2 private schools and 8 nurseries! My job took a sharp turn from 75:25 property:finance to almost 75% on finance. Fortunately, I had gained a MBA in business studies, but it was a bit like teach-as-you- go! The auditors were of great help at that time. One topic which has come under my role is looking after personnel matters, along with statutory compliance such as data protection. Did you know the central agencies of the Diocese directly employ 60 people, with an annual budget of £3.5m? I am really interested in working with the Education Department on policy and enjoyed working on major projects, such as St Wilfrids Secondary school in Crawley. Looking back what would you consider was a key change in your work? Apart from handling the major change with the 1995 Charities Act, I think it is in the area of IT. For a third time, that smile re-appeared as Fergus thought back over his career. Would you believe, I found a computer under a dust cover in DABCEC? It was unused as no one could understand the manual! I am pleased to think that I helped develop the systems for the Diocese, many of which were the first in England and Wales. I feel very proud to have been involved in these initiatives for example, we are one of the leading dioceses in successfully developing the GiftWise on line system for Gift Aid. Even the tax authorities seek our opinions! We were among the first to use IT for accounts. Before that it was hand-written ledgers. And the advent of emails has been a great influence in what we do and the speed with which we operate. I used to dictate up to 30 letters each day! Even with an enormous increase in workload, we still only have six staff in the department. All down to good use of IT, and is something of which Im very proud. You are retiring - but not retiring. Whats happening to your life? I have accepted the role as Secretary to the Southern Historic Churches Committee and have been working part time since March. At this point, to have Fergus jump to his feet with enthusiasm came as quite a surprise. Come over to the screen and I will show you the website I have set up. Your correspondent then had a virtual tour of all that Fergus will survey - to advise on over 200 Catholic historic churches from Kent to Cornwall, and up to the Thames Valley and Bristol. The website is a ready-reckoner for these churches in setting out the history of each building, new and old planning applications and much more. The Catholic Church, along with other denominations, has listed building exemption from the planning authorities to look after our properties. Even planning departments are now using this facility. I remember years ago, we used to take 30 or more bundles of paper to the post office with respect to listed building applications. Now it can be done on line. What makes you sad? So much unnecessary suffering in the world caused by mans inhumanity to man is my first thought. What is its purpose? What makes you happy? Mrs Brotherton will be relieved to know that this response was without hesitation. My family! I am truly blessed to have my wife, Cecily, and our children. My job has been fabulous. I do actually get up looking forward to every day and what it might bring. You asked about music. I have a fairly catholic taste from classical music Chopin and opera Verdi, through to Pink Floyd. Surprising? Not surprising as the brightly coloured stripped socks should have been a give- away ! After 29 years, how would you like to be remembered? Fergus pondered before replying. I created PAM the Parish Administration Manual. Yes, I know, not the most exciting subject in the world, but it is (tongue firmly in cheek) much loved by the clergy! Many hard learnt lessons are incorporated into it. Although not on this occasion, my door was always open and I hope people found that I was always willing to help. Do you have any advice for your successor? All I would say to Sarah Kilmartin is to get to know the deaneries and the clergy, and everything will be fine from then on. Sarah is joining a great group of people and she will not be the first woman to hold this post in the 22 Dioceses of England and Wales. I have great confidence that, with her varied background, she will take this position on to new levels in the future. Would you like your epitaph to read Never judge a book by its cover? For the fourth time a smile broke out on the face of this retiring Financial Secretary at this thought. My door was always open would be better! Interview by Peter Burholt, Special Correspondent FERGUS BROTHERTON TALKS TO THE A&B NEWS AFTER 29 YEARS IN POST A&B NEWS February 2016 9 Fergus Brotherton with a portrait of Mgr Terry Stonehill Bishops House in Hove is confusing. It does not accommodate the bishop and never has! However, one important activity in this impressive building is the financial secretariat, which was the venue for an interview with Fergus Brotherton by Peter Burholt. The occasion was to commemorate Fergus 29 years as Financial Secretary.
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A&B NEWS February 2016 10 WHILE ON A RECENT CONFERENCE to Leeds for the annual gathering of the Financial Secretaries of England and Wales, I quickly realised that Fergus has also become a high-profile Financial Secretary nationally, and is greatly esteemed and often consulted by colleagues from other Dioceses. In recent years he has chaired the national Gift Aid conference, as well as participating in the leadership of Church Marketplace and sitting on the national Patrimony Committee. His breadth of experience and willingness to share best practice have made him an important colleague in the national church. Sarah Kilmartin THE STAFF AND GOVERNORS of St Wilfrids Catholic School in Crawley offer their very best wishes to Fergus on his much deserved retirement. Ferguss advice and support during the building of our new school was excellent. From the time the DFE agreed to part fund the building of the new school and throughout the process Fergus was there to offer advice and ensure that the correct procedures were followed. We were very privileged to have him and the team deal with the financial issues in connection with the build. The exchange of land deeds was a major part of the process and his negotiating skills with the Local Authority ensured that best value was achieved. Your expertise will be missed Fergus and once again we wish you well in your retirement. Maria Thrower, St Wilfrids, Crawley Great Support to Long Barn Residential Living House I HAVE FOUND FERGUS to be over the 8 years I have known him, the consummate professional. I will forever be grateful for the hard work and attention to detail he gave when we opened Long Barn our second supported living house. Fergus was meticulous in his attention to detail to ensure all risks were covered and the tenants were able to move in to the property. Fergus is supportive and able to articulate his concerns in a way that is amenable and solution focused. On behalf of all at St Josephs we wish him a long and happy retirement.Thanks! Alan Day, Director of Residential Services, St Joseph`s Specialist School and College ST JOSEPHS SCHOOL ST WILFRI DS SCHOOL WE ARE VERY GRATEFUL to Fergus and all of the financial team at the diocese. As a school we had the unique opportunity to build a new school in 2004 and the vision for this would never have been achieved without the support of the diocese led by Fergus and his team. I know that the Catholic community has been enriched by this as we work as a teaching school with many Catholic primary and secondary schools and many, beyond those at St Pauls benefit from the opportunities provided by the modern and innovative environment at the school. Fergus also plays a formative role in ensuring parishes and schools benefit from Gift Aid and we as a school have made full used of this by introducing an e-learning scheme where every student can learn using an iPad or laptop to give them the resources to equip for the modern world. We also host the annual Gift Aid Conference and Mass at the school each year. We are grateful to Fergus for his leadership, guidance and support and wish him every bless- ing and happiness in retirement. Rob Carter Headteacher Launch of Gift Aid Following the Governments scheme introducing Gift Aid at the end of 1990 Fergus launched it in our Diocese. A copy of the picture that accompanied the article in the February 1991 issue of A&B News is reproduced here. Before 1990, the main form of tax relief enjoyed by the Diocese was the covenant system. Gift Aid was intended to work alongside the covenant system to further encourage charitable giving. It was designed to be very straight forward and open to everyone, assuming they had enough taxable income. Of course the Gift Aid system has matured and developed significantly over the last 25 years. When it was launched Gift Aid only applied to gifts over £600 but the minimum donation limit was subsequently removed and administration was simplified. For large charities perhaps the most welcome development was Gift Wise, an on-line processing system and Fergus Brotherton was one of the early pioneers of this development. Gift Aid AGM 2007 Fergus pictured with Sue Rickard and the two consultants from Carn Software on the introduction of the ground-breaking GiftWise online system for Gift Aid. Gift Aid AGM 2008 Fer gus talking with Sue Rickard and Ian Dallas, one of the three Diocesan Gift Aid auditors. (Editors note: In addition to these tasks, Fergus has been Secretary to the Friends of Arundel Cathedral, Secretary to the Trustees of the Arundel & Brighton Diocese and has served on the Diocesan Finance Committee.) Excellent Negotiating and Support for the Building of St Wilfrids School First Impressions from Sarah Kilmartin ST PAULS SCHOOL, HAYWARDS HEATH
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