St Mary's Church

Stoke D'Abernon, Surrey

Who's Who

Reverend Godfrey Hilliard


Reverend Godfrey Hilliard

Godfrey Hilliard is the Rector of Stoke D'Abernon having first been appointed Associate Rector in March 2013.  Ordained in 1975, Godfrey served as an assistant curate in Cardiff, as a chaplain in the Royal Navy for twenty six years and latterly as chaplain of Bradfield College in Berkshire. 

Godfrey strongly believes that belief in Christ is life changing and that the church must reach out to promote the Christian faith at every opportunity.  His hope is that St Mary's will be an instrument for change, challenge and care within the community. Godfrey is married to Helen and they have two grown-up children.

Hugh Bryant

Hugh Bryant

Hugh is a Reader (Licensed Lay Minister).  He is a General Manager and Trustee of Cobham Area Foodbank.  He is a member of the Guildford Diocesan and Leatherhead Deanery Synods.

Educated in classics at Oriel College, Oxford, he worked in marine insurance in the City of London and has been a solicitor specialising in maritime law.  He has two daughters (one an ENT surgeon and the other an F2 hospital doctor) and two Bengal cats.

In his calling to ministry he has followed two grandfathers and one great-grandfather, who were all Methodist ministers.

 Sue Prentice

Sue Prentice

Sue is one of our Church Wardens. She read History at Durham University before joining Marks and Spencer in 1983 as a Commercial Manager.  She subsequently worked in Management Consultancy for 11 years before moving as a Senior Manager into the Logistic industry with DHL and then with Airline industry with IAG.  Sue held various roles working in Corporate IT, Project Management, Buisiness Transformation and Change Management.  She finished her career working for the Department for Work and Pensions for 2 years as a freelance consultant.

Sue and her husband Mike, who worked as a Landscape Gardener, moved to Stoke D'Abernon in 2004 where they became regular attendees at St Mary's Church.  Sue is also active in the local community : as a Committee Member with the Stoke D'Abernon RA and more recently as a Trustee of Cobham Conservation and Heritage Trust.  She is also a keen keep fit enthusiast who attends the gym regularly.

Sue has a step daughter, Cheska, who lives in Hersham, and a yellow labrador Holly.

 Ian Read

Ian Read

Ian is one of our Church Wardens.  He read Physics at Imperial College, London before joining Esso Petroleum in 1976 where he spent 36 years in a variety of commercial and logistics roles including assignment in the UK press office.  He spent twenty years engaged in the management of Exxon Mobil tanker chartering and commercial operations throughout Europe.

Ian and his wife Sara moved to Cobham in 1993 with their children, Robert and Emily.  Sara taught at Notre Dame Preparatory School for 18 years.  Robert is married with a daughter, Laura, and is employed as a Structural Engineer in Bristol.  Emily is also married and works as an Equine Veterinary Surgeon in Cheshire.

Ian enjoys most sporting and home intersts and has become more engaged in Cobham and Stoke D'Abernon community life since his retirement.

Robert Woolley

Robert Woolley

Robert Woolley is well known as an organist, harpsichordist and director.  He has played in most European countries, the USA, South America and Japan, and was Artist in Residence at the University of Washington, St Louis.

He is recording the complete keyboard music of Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck on historic organs; and has made a CD of Handel and his contemporaries on the 1766 Thomas Parker organ at St Nicholas, Leatherhead.  These discs, and others are obtainable from

Robert recently made audio and video recordings of keyboard music composed for the first Hanoverian monarchs on a harpsichord made for Frederick Prince of Wales in 1740, now part of the Royal Collection.  He also gave a recital on this instrument at Buckingham Palace.  The recordings are on

Last year Robert was President of the Jury of the 8th Principe Francesco Maria Ruspoli Baroque Music and Musicological Studies International Competion, held in the Castello Ruspoli, where Handel gave the first performance of several of his cantatas.  Robert is also a Professor in the keyboard and historical performance faculties of the Royal College of Music.


Oliver Mcfarlane

Oliver Macfarlane

Oliver started playing the piano at the age of 8 and later took up the organ.  His full-time music education began at Winchester School of Art followed by 4 years at the Royal College of Music where he gained his graduate and performing diplomas in both piano and organ.  Oliver studied organ with Richard Popplewell, Gillian Weir and at the International Summer Academy in Haarlem, Holland.  Recently he has embarked on further organ studies in French repertoir with Ben van Oosten in The Hague.  He is a deputy organist for St Mary's Church, St Andrew's, Cobham and Christ Church, Esher.  Recent recitals have included Bristol Cathedral, Portsmouth Cathedral, Truro Cathedral, St Michael's Cornhill, St Peter and St Paul Godalming and Holy Trinity, Gosport.

Oliver had a long career in broadcasting with the BBC.  Following 14 years in Children's Television he became series editor of performance output in the Television Classical Music department.  His portfolio of programmes included the BBC Proms, the prestigious Young Musician of the Year competition, the conducting series Maestro, and may opera and ballet productions from the Royal Opera House.  In 2013 Oliver left the BBC to concentrate on playing and teaching the organ.



Visiting the Church

The church is regularly open to visitors at set times. Please read the Visiting St Mary's page for more details.

Something for Mothers Others