CCA WELCOMES ITS NEW CHAIRMAN ...
Mgr Canon Jeffrey Scott, LCL, MCL, of the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton, was
elected Hon. Chairman of Catholic Concern for Animals at last October’s AGM. He
tells his own story here:
I was born in Leeds in 1945 and left school at 15 to join the world of work –
with a TV Rental Company. While there I gained an accountancy qualification from
night school. I moved to Crawley, Sussex, in 1967, and became a Catholic in
1972, deciding to study for the priesthood. After ordination in May 1979 Bishop
Cormac Murphy-O’Conner asked if I would continue my studies and specialise in
Canon Law. So off I went to St Paul’s University in Ottawa for two years to gain
a Licence and a Master’s Degree in Canon Law.
Since my return in 1981 I served in the Brighton parishes of St Mary’s,
Preston Park, and St Patrick’s, Woodingdean; then, St Edward the Confessor,
Hassocks; and the Cathedral at Arundel; and I am presently at St Hugh of
Lincoln, Knaphill, Woking. For all but the last four years I was diocesan
Judicial Vicar, and Chairman of the Diocese Finance Committee, and taught Canon
Law in the Seminary. I have also been on the governing bodies of schools in both
the maintained and independent sectors since 1986 (see photograph, opp. page
My first appointment, to St. Mary’s, brought me into contact with the parish
priest’s dog – a spaniel called Chico. After a year my first English setter,
Leo-Gregory, arrived as a puppy, and I had many happy afternoons taking Chico
and Leo for walkies. On my move to Woodingdean, I felt it would be good for Leo
if he still had company – so along came Benedict-Pius (Ben) my second English
setter. Leo was eventually called to join St Francis. Ben and I moved to
Hassocks where we were joined by Holly, a rescue English setter from the RSPCA.
It was in Hassocks that Ben was called away. But when I left Hassocks to move to
Arundel Cathedral (where I introduced the animal blessing service) I was given a
Jack Russell puppy named Tom. Three years ago I moved from Arundel to my present
parish at Knaphill.
On the 30 June 2007, after celebrating a marriage, I went back to the
reception at the bride’s parents house. There, in the kitchen, Rueger, a golden
Labrador, was giving birth to five puppies – all black, like their father. I was
asked if I would like one – how could I say no? So now there are three dogs in
our family – Holly, Tom and Merlin (the Labrador). My dogs have brought great
pleasure and companionship into my life. And there is nothing better than being
greeted by all three of them when I get back from those evening meetings.
... AND A NEW COMMITTEE MEMBER
Dr (and Colonel) Angela Curran comes with an impressive list of
qualifications: MB, ChB, MRCGP, DCH, Dobs, RCOG. She also comes onto the
committee with an enthusiasm for animals, and a record of fundraising for them,
that has already swelled our coffers by £150. This was from sponsorship for her
trek last September along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Peru, at the end of a
wildlife tour (Rhino Rescue Trust, with whom she’s been involved for 20 years,
even visiting rhino rescue centres in Kenya. And another favourite, the Brooke
Hospital for Animals – the two names on her sponsorship request form – also
received generous funding) (see pictures opposite page 17).
Early interest in animals
Angela claims her interest in animals began early, with Beatrice Potter, Winnie
the Pooh, Wind in the Willows, Teddy bears, and a very beloved cat. Then
developed a passion for wildlife, animal welfare and conservation. One of the
earliest charities which impressed her, and with which she has stayed, was the
Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW) – later adding WWF, RSPB, Cats
Protection, PDSA, and many others. ‘Animals were always the centre of my life’,
Hoping to study veterinarian science, and having secured a place at Liverpool
University, family circumstances caused her to study medicine instead, at
Birmingham University, for which she was able to live at home. Her first
specialism was in obstetrics and paediatrics at Portsmouth, and then child
psychiatry at Guy’s Hospital. For two ‘glorious years’ she worked as Ship’s
Surgeon on SS Uganda with hundreds of school children and cabin passengers on
educational cruises around the world. Then she dipped into general practice for
two separate years in London and Brighton and found the conditions depressing,
so in 1974 she joined the Royal Army Medical Corps. She was appointed as trainer
in general practice, as well as running general practice medical reception
stations (bedded units), and garrison medical administration, in Germany,
Belgium, Cyprus and England.
After retiring from the army, Angela did some voluntary work in palliative
care which was very rewarding but could not continue (as working as a voluntary
doctor in the UK is not possible). Then her life was dominated by surgery to her
hip and recurrent surgery on her mouth.
Her faith and deep love for all animals are the most important factors in her
life. Sometimes the attitude of the Church to animals – bureaucratic and callous
disinterest – tests her belief, so faith is often ‘despite’ the Church!.
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