New editor has parish’s mag down to a fine art
When Jamie Warde-Aldam took over the parish magazine, few people can have imagined what they were going to get. David Whetstone meets an editor with a mission to entertain.
OUT in the wide, open spaces above the Tyne Valley is a tiny gem of a church with beautiful stained glass windows and birds chirruping in the trees outside. It’s St John’s, Healey, and its proportions are probably just about right for a lightly-populated, scattered parish.
The parish has a magazine, too, but not your conventional photocopied list of services with a message from the vicar and a line drawing of the church on the cover.
The Parish Magazine of St John’s, Healey, has a bit of swagger about it. It glories in the name of The Hotspur and every edition – the proud boast goes – contains “a free print by a first-rate poet or artist”.
With a print run of about 100, it is becoming a bit of a collector’s item, and was reviewed in the Independent on Sunday, thereby attaining a reach far beyond the parish of St John’s.
What is more, there is now a book – just published – containing short stories from The Hotspur.
How did this all come to pass?
For the answer, I drive to a very big house not too far away. And here, after a certain amount of knocking, hooting and hollering, the door is finally opened with a warm and apologetic greeting by Jamie Warde-Aldam, the editor of The Hotspur.
Jamie is 52, and Healey Hall, which dates from 1860, is where he grew up – a descendant of Quakers who eventually turned to the Church of England.
Jamie’s brother Tom, farmer and land agent, looks after the acres we can see from the window, although Jamie can’t tell me exactly how many.
He did a degree in the history of art and architecture at the University of East Anglia and has taken care of the parish magazine since December 2005.