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Bulletin - 14 November 2008

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University Chaplain becomes a chaplain to the Queen

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The University Chaplain will rub shoulders with royalty in his new honorary role as a chaplain to the Queen.

The Revd Canon Dr Gavin Ashenden, who has been University Chaplain at Sussex since 1989, is to join an elite group of 36 royal chaplains.

The role, which goes back to the 13th century, involves preaching once a year at the Chapel Royal at St James's Palace in London. As a member of the Ecclesiastical Household and of the Royal College of Chaplains, Gavin will also be invited to certain royal events.

On formal occasions he will get to trade in the standard black cassock for a scarlet one which is worn by royal chaplains.

Asked why he thought he had been chosen for the role, Gavin said: "They never actually tell you what you've done or haven't done, which is probably just as well!"

He added: "I am delighted that this honour not only reflects the importance of education in society at the moment, but also acts as a tribute to all that the University of Sussex is and stands for.

"I hope to use the role constructively; it would be cheering to think that it might be one more contribution to Sussex's reputation for being a centre for excellence."

Gavin, who will remain a royal chaplain until he is 70, is also a lecturer in the School of Humanities; a member of the Church of England's national assembly, the General Synod; and a Canon of Chichester Cathedral.

He is especially busy on Sunday mornings, when he presents a faith and ethics programme on BBC Southern Counties Radio before taking the weekly service in the Meeting House chapel.

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