Don Smith - Rector
Rev’d Don Smith took up the reins as rector of St Mary’s in June 2008 following twenty years’ ministry in various areas of London. Passionate about building a church for the 21st century, Don is keen to see new families coming to church, joining with those who are long-standing church members. Humour and enjoyment of life are high on Don’s agenda which means the congregation often has to suffer his stories and jokes. Don is a keen sports fan and confesses to watching most sports from the safety of his armchair. Don and his wife Karen enjoy walking their two dogs on Frinton beach.
Don was awarded a British Empire Medal in the Queens New Year's Honours List 2022 for 'Services to the community of Frinton-on-Sea'.
Heather Ursell - Churchwarden
Heather has lived in Frinton, home-town of her late husband, Chris, for over thirty-five years. Her four children and four grandchildren (so far) are a special joy. She comes from a teaching background, and enjoys interacting with people of all ages, and her main hobbies of reading and admin! Her Christian faith is very important to her, knowing that life would have been much more difficult without the understanding that God can work things out for good in every situation. She loves being part of St Mary’s, particularly encouraging people to join our homegroups, and does her best to help our church community run smoothly and efficiently!
John Edmonds - Churchwarden
John moved to Frinton in 2020 and married Denise who had been a local resident for many years. Having spent thirty years teaching in Primary and Middle Schools, fourteen of those as a Headteacher in Nottinghamshire, he retired from teaching to set up a small building company! All good experience he hopes when becoming a fabric warden! John has spent many years serving on PCCs, and for five years, with a team of people commissioned by the then Bishop of Southwell, left his church in Nottingham, to help set up a 'church for the unchurched', called Tommy’s, in the centre of the city. John has a particular love for music, having been a cathedral chorister as a teenager. He has been a member of music groups in various churches and is keen to encourage people younger than himself to join him in brushing the dust off their instruments and vocal chords! John has a desire to serve the Lord and everyone at St Mary’s, and in the local community in whatever way he can.
Yoyis Higgins - Children's and Families' Worker
Yoyis was born in Mexico and grew up in a religious family. Back in her hometown, she worked as a Nursery and Early Years teacher for thirteen years. She moved to London to study English in 2011, and met Dan, who is now her husband, in 2014.
She worked as a nanny in London for six years, until they welcomed their son Joseph in 2017. From then, Yoyis thoroughly enjoyed being a full-time mum. In 2020, she and her family moved to Frinton, and became part of St Mary’s Church in 2021. Early in 2023, she became Children’s and Families’ Worker for St Mary’s. Apart from working with children, Yoyis also loves wild photography, football, baking, travelling, and art crafts.
Dominic Gardner - Operations Manager
Dominic joined St Mary’s staff at the end of 2018, coming from a background in youth work with Essex County Council and in management in fast food outlets. He grew up in Frinton and now lives in Walton with his wife, Steph, and family. His main interests are online gaming and football; both playing and watching. For many years, whatever his current employment, Dominic has kindly made himself available for the week of Frinton Mission, to be FM site manager, supervising and helping to coordinate everything that takes place in the Marquee on the Greensward.
Duncan Archard - Choirmaster
Duncan comes from a traditional background in church music, having been a boy chorister in Oxford. His taste in music has expanded to include a wide-range of styles since he began teaching music in schools in the 1980’s. Duncan believes that church music should be all-encompassing and reflect as far as possible the wide ranging backgrounds of established congregations as well as those who come new into the church. Even though Duncan lives in Colchester and has been travelling to Frinton since the year 2000, the excitement of coming to a famous seaside town has not worn off!
Stewart Atkins - Caretaker
Stewart and his wife Sue have lived in Little Clacton for well over 30 years. He was caretaker and site manager at St Clare’s RC Primary School in Clacton for 21 years, but started his working life in Holborn, London, in the civil service Trademarks Office. He then turned his hand to being a butcher, and 10 years at Smithfield Meat Market! After taking early retirement in 2017, thankfully for St Mary’s, he changed his mind and joined us as caretaker in January 2018, quickly becoming a reliable and considerate part of our team.