If you were at The Olde Kings Arms pub in Hemel Hampstead recently, you may have been momentarily confused. As part of a charity initiative the local vicar John Williams agreed to job swap on the morning of Sunday 2nd December with the pub’s landlord Ben Satchfield, with John serving pints to beer-loving punters and Ben giving the sermon at nearby St Mary’s church.
The fun stunt raised a total of £200, of which £100 has been donated to the pub’s charity of choice, Children in Need, as well as £100 going towards funds for installing a disabled toilet and small kitchen in the church.
Ben Satchfield said: ‘Since becoming licensee at the pub 18 months ago, I struck up a friendship with John from St Mary’s church as we’re both passionate about ways of giving back to the local community. It was a great experience swapping roles and the engagement we got from the community was superb. In a time where high streets are under threat, we felt it was more important than ever to stress the importance of our two pillars of the community. It showed us that our roles aren’t too dissimilar after all, as both of us have to lend an ear and give advice from time to time.’
Vicar at St Mary’s, John Williams said: ‘The church here at St Mary’s has a long history with businesses in the area, none more so than with the local pubs. Our predecessors built the first inn and hostelry on the high street in the early 16th century so that the people from the market could seal their deals with ale in a pub, rather than in the nave of the church building where the market place then was. We’re delighted to have raised money for charity and making our church more accessible for the local community.’