St Helens Church, High Street, Wheathampstead, St Albans, AL4 8AA. Worship Times: 10am every Sunday

Our Team

The Rev’d Richard Banham, Rector. Richard was ordained in 2006 in the Diocese of Bristol, after training at Trinity College. Before donning the dog-collar he worked as a Project Manager for an international bank. He moved to Wheathampstead with his family in 2010, and ever since has been excited to see all that God is doing here. Richard is particularly keen to encourage ways in which the church can “face outwards” and serve the local community. He enjoys both traditional and contemporary forms of worship. Richard is married to Claire; they have two teenage children, which stops life from ever being boring!
Helen Caldwell was appointed Churchwarden in October 2018. With her husband Alistair, she has lived in and around Wheathampstead for over 20 years. They have two children, Cameron and Eleanor, and two lively dogs, Mac and Mabel. Helen grew up in a Christian family worshipping at churches in Chingford, E4. She spent her career in financial services recruitment in London, and then setting up and running her own recruitment consultancy before selling up and becoming a full-time domestic goddess. She looks forward to getting to know these wonderful churches and the people in them better.
Claire Banham is a Reader which in her case means “being able to do the fun bits.” She heads up Children’s and Youth work at St Helen’s, with involvement in a wide range of ministries, ranging from planning Messy Church to running the weekly Impact Youth Group. One of her real passions is that children get to experience for themselves how great God is, and so Claire is committed to anything to help children feel totally welcomed and engaged in church life. She also works part-time for the267project that supports other churches with their children and youth work. Claire is married to our Rector, with two children. In any spare time left (!?!) she is addicted to books, and loves a good weepie film. The whole family is also rather partial to theme parks and roller coasters!

Photo: Claire at last year’s Christingle service.

Simon Best. Vision Steering Group Chairman, PCC Member. Australian-born, Simon has lived in Peters Green and worshipped at St Helen’s for 30 years. He is a retired investment banker, married to Jane, with four adult sons and seven grandchildren. He is Captain of Mid-Herts Golf Club 2018, and enjoys gardening, around regular travel to Australia.
John Grace, retired Reader, was born in 1938 and brought up in a churchgoing family. After grammar school he joined Cable & Wireless pursued a a career overseas in telecommunications engineering. After his first wife died, he felt called into the ministry and was licenced as a Reader in 1997 – the same year Ros and he were married. They take a keen interest in their five children and ten grandchildren, who keep them very much on their toes, They joined St Helen’s and St Peter’s in 2005, and feel privileged to be part of such a loving church fellowship.
Carol Hopper. In addition to being a licensed Reader, Carol is a wife and mother (of twin boys, both currently at university) and a partner in an international law firm. She enjoys being a “bridge” between the people not just of Wheathampstead, but in the working communities she is part of through her legal practice. As part of the Ministerial team here at St Helen’s and St Peter’s, she takes a particular lead in the more contemplative and creative evening worship offered at St Peter’s, including worship in the Celtic and Taize styles.
Pippa Legg has been a Reader at St Helen’s and St Peter’s churches for 27 years. She moved with her husband Brian to Wheathampstead in 1975, just before their daughter was born. They now have two married children and four grandchildren. Pippa is a biologist who worked in the Plant Pathology department at Rothamsted before the children were born.The family spent two years in Australia, and on their return Pippa began teaching part-time at Loreto College, St Albans. She retired in 2006. Her interests include golf, playing the French horn, walking, bird-watching and crossword puzzles.

Photo: Pippa completes documentation before a Taize service at St Peter’s.

Rob Milner has been Director of Music and Choir-Master at St Helen’s since the start of 2017. He has been leading choirs for ten years and has significant experience in developing young voices. His singing interests extend to musical theatre. He makes his living in the IT industry. Rob lives in St Albans with his wife and two daughters, who both sing in the choir.

Photo: Rob in the Choir Vestry before Evensong.

Roger Payne was licensed as a Reader in the Church of England in 1998, and served in the Parish of Bushey before moving with his wife Dianne to Wheathampstead in 2015. He spent most of his professional career in science teaching at Aldenham School. He took early retirement as Deputy Head in 1998, and then returned to university for study and research in theology, ethics and the psychology of religion. He and his wife Dianne have two adult children.
Imelda Tay (Mel), Church Administrator, is from Singapore. She has a background in education: teaching sixth form and formulating government policy for tertiary education. She settled in the UK in 2005, and is enjoying looking after the day-to-day business of church. She lives in Wheathampstead with her husband Stephen and her two teenaged sons.
Linda Thomas, Children’s and Families Minister, has lived in Wheathampstead with her husband and two daughters for 27 years, and has been worshipping at St Helen’s for about 20. Previously a primary school teacher, she is now responsible for supporting families and children at St Helen’s and St Peter’s, and for making links with our local schools. She enjoys singing and bird-watching, and fighting the never-ending battle with weeds in her garden!