Barry Dickinson 25-year scroll: 22 May 2018

Reverend Barry Dickinson (known as “Dick” to his wife and close friends) collected his scroll for 25 years of Catenian membership at the May Circle meeting. The instigation of 25-year scrolls for the Association is a new venture which aims to reward those members who have given long service to their Circles.


Circle President John Fitzpatrick (r) congratulates Barry on his 25 years as a Brother

It came as a bit of a surprise to Barry, because he had come along to celebrate the other scroll presentation for his long-time friend Richard Dillon and had not expected to be receiving anything.

Barry has been a member since April 1992 and was President in 2000-01. Before that, he had been Registrar, greeting all who came to meetings with his cheery smile and wit. One of the key additions he initiated in Circle practice was the (now) annual Joint Meeting with Chesterfield Circle; neither Circle felt that they could generate much of a crowd for the August meeting so a combination of the two Circles almost always guarantees a good number before visitors. The Circles alternate their location and the practice has proved very successful. He is also very proud of the fact that he added the Pontifical Mass at the Padley Chapel to our Circle calendar and introduced after-dinner speakers during his presidential year.

He later took over the organisation of the Pub Lunch programme, with special regard to ensuring that widows were invited to join our company each month, thereby enabling us to keep in touch with them. Following on from his Presidency, Barry was also Provincial Councillor for the Circle for a period of 3 or 4 years.

Barry was born in 1934 to an old Mansfield family, and is very proud that the first wedding entry in the parish church records, introduced in Elizabeth’s reign, is of his forebears.

He was educated at Brunts Grammar School, Mansfield from 1945-50. On leaving school, he became a trainee estate agent, qualifying as Incorporated Auctioneer and Valuer (FSVA) and later Chartered Surveyor (FRICS), and eventually becoming a partner of long standing local agents Cramptons; he retired in 1999.

Some of his professional achievements include: Past Chairman of the East Midlands Branch, and previously the Junior Centre, of the ISVA; Past President of the Mansfield Junior Chamber of Commerce; and Past President of the Old Mansfield Society, the local history group for our locality.

He married Christine in 1960 and they have two children, Sarah (now working at All Saints School, Mansfield) and Edward. They also have three grandchildren, Daniel, Grace and Evie – and one dog, Emma.

Barry has not always been a Catholic. For many years he was a member of St. Peter’s C of E Church and was their Treasurer; he later became Chairman of St. Mark’s PCC, Mansfield. He was received into the Catholic Church by Father Peter Dooling on the eve of the Immaculate Conception in 1989.

He was appointed as a Eucharistic Minister for St Philip Neri parish and, in 2006, was ordained Deacon by the then Bishop of Nottingham Malcolm McMahon, who has since moved on to be Archbishop of Liverpool.

Although at 83 his involvement in parish work as a Deacon has inevitably diminished over the years, he is still serving at St. Philip Neri Church, Mansfield; this involves, in addition to the deacon’s role at the liturgy, preaching and leading eucharistic devotions – in the earlier years of his diaconate, he also officiated at baptisms and funerals, and was a key part of the local hospital chaplaincy, from which he retired last year after 18 years’ service.

Despite being so involved in the life of his parish, Barry still finds time for a few personal pastimes; principal among those are classical music and opera, local and political history, railways and industrial archaeology. He also informs us that he is an avid collector, with many recordings and books of all shapes and sizes.

Editor’s comment:

He taught me that the most important job in Circle is probably the most humble one, that of being registrar; it gets no formal recognition but is vital as you get to know everyone. He always made his job to exchange a few words with each person, including visitors. I was very honoured to accept when he asked me to take over from him in that role and pleased to accept when he asked me if I would consider being his Vice-President.

Over the years since then, Angela and I have got to know him and Christine a lot better and they have joined us on a number of occasions for the Ratcliffe Mass for deceased brothers when their health has permitted.