A CURATE who has swapped dealing with the world’s media for life in the parish has become a new chaplain at Barnsley Hospice.

The reverend Neil Traynor, 41, who will be ordained as a priest this summer at St Mary with St Paul, Barnsley, has volunteered for the role at the hospice. Neil used to be press officer at Lambeth Palace, the historic London residence of Church of England leader, the Archbishop of Canterbury. He was involved in handling media enquiries from all over the world following the deaths of Princess Diana and Mother Teresa in 1997 and during the Millennium celebrations.

Mr Traynor decided to join the clergy two years ago. He said: “My decision was a long time in the making but everything came together a couple of years ago. Since moving to Barnsley, I’ve found the town to be a very warm and welcoming place.

“I first became involved with the hospice as St Mary’s holds the hospice’s annual ‘Light Up A Life’ remembrance services each Christmas, so has very close links. Volunteering as chaplain felt right – very few people have not had some kind of contact with the hospice, even if it’s just visiting one of the shops.” He meets patients and families once a week in the hospice’s day care centre and stresses that he is happy to chat about faith or about any other subject.

Neil lives at Kingstone with his wife Jill, a community nurse, and four-year-old daughter Harriet.