Covering Dereham, Scarning, Swanton Morley, Hoe, Beetley with East Bilney, Shipdham and Bradenham

Church Office: 01362 693143

Whos Who

The Revd Canon Paul Cubitt

In 2020 the Rev’d Canon Paul Cubitt became Team Rector.  Ordained for 25 years he has served in Herefordshire, Yorkshire and for the last 15 years Norfolk, his home county. He is married to Clare who has a background in early years teaching and they have two adult children.

Paul has a passion for mission and ministry, for making church buildings fit for purpose, and building links with the local community.  His sabbatical project in 2019 was to visit seventy major churches (over 1000m2) up and down the country asking the question ‘Millstone or Mission Resource’.  He is a training incumbent and hopes a curate will join the Team in 2024.

He is a governor at two Dereham CE Schools, is a member of ‘aboutDereham’ ( and is part of the team working towards the economic and social improvement of the town as part of the 'Future Breckland: Thriving People & Places' initiative.

Within the team ministry he has responsibility for Dereham and Scarning. As Team Rector Paul believes in being known across the benefice and at present tries to have 2 out of 3 Sundays at Dereham and Scarning and the other Sunday in another part of the benefice.


The Revd Laura Purnell – Team Vicar

The Rev’d Laura Purnell was ordained in 2018 and served her curacy in Gaywood, King’s Lynn.  She came to the Dereham and District Team Ministry in 2022 with responsibility for Shipdham and Bradenham Churches.  Laura also oversees and coordinates the schools work in the benefice.  Laura is concentrating on the secondary schools and any of the primary schools that don’t have direct link with one of our other incumbents.  Laura is looking forward to helping the new Team Vicar however she can with the two primary schools in the new Team Vicar’s parishes.  Laura has a passion for families and how we can bridge the gap between meeting them through schools and welcoming them into our churches, although she is aware this passion is a work in progress.

Laura is married to Martin who is a Local Lay Minister (LLM) in the benefice, serving in the Shipdham and Bradenham churches.  They have 5 grown up children and twelve grandchildren scattered across the country and globe.


The Rachael Dines - Team Vicar.

The Rev. Rachael Dines joined us in June 2023. She has responsibility for Swanton Morley, Hoe and Beetley with East Bilney.She moved to this area from Hunstanton and the Saxon Shore with her rescue Parson Jack Russell, Pippi. She is 14 and a half years old and has been with Rachael for over 11 of those years. When Rachael first rescued her she was teaching and living in West Runton and fully expected to remain there for many years, however, God had another plan!

Her calling to ordained ministry was a long time in coming. On being recommended for training she moved to Durham to train at Cranmer Hall. From college based training she moved back Norfolk and served her curacy in North Walsham for three and a half years. From there she moved to Hunstanton to serve the people in the North West of Norfolk.


Lydia Crick – LLM                         

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Description automatically generated with low confidenceLydia was licensed as a Reader in September 2008. Her decision to become a Reader was a gradual one.

It was about 20 years ago at a licensing of a Team Vicar she realised, in the middle of the licensing, that God was calling her as well to a ministry. It took a little longer to discern a call to Reader Ministry. Serious illnesses gave Lydia a different view of what is important in life and she left paid employment to serve as a Reader. She has worked as a library and information specialist in public service.

Lydia was at University when she heard a preacher talk about how the father ran to meet his returning wayward son in the parable of the Prodigal Son. This has been one of the most important things she has learnt. God loves so much that He doesn’t passively wait for us to come to Him but runs towards us: the father “had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him” (Luke 15: 20)


Tom Cross - LLM

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Description automatically generated with medium confidenceTom lives in Mattishall with his wife, Susan. They have two grown up children and a Tibetan terrier. 

He was licenced as a lay minister in 2008 and has been in the Dereham benefice since 2020. He enjoys being part of the team, leading services throughout all the churches. He takes funerals and leads Bible study classes and is a Deanery Synod representative.

Tom has many hobbies, including stamp collecting, making scale model aircraft and tanks, heavy rock music, foreign travel, plus going on archaeological digs. He also writes books (adventure stories) and self-publish them online.


The Revd Ailsa Whorton – Padre, 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards, Robertson Barracks

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Description automatically generatedAilsa recently moved to Norfolk from Yorkshire to take up her new post with the QDG.  Originally from the Wirral, where she still has her family home, she was ordained at Chester Cathedral in 2018 having served as a Reader for very many years at Holy Cross, Woodchurch.   Ailsa undertook her curacy also on the Wirral at St Michael and All Angels in Newton West Kirby and joined the British Army to serve as a Chaplain in September 2020.  She is married to Derek who is a plasterer, and she has two boys, both serving as Royal Engineers in the Army.

Ailsa has Permission to Officiate so she can work with the Team outside of her duties as Padre on the base.


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