Who are The Friends of St Clement Danes Church?

John Samuel ThomasThe Friends were founded in 1976 by John Samuel Thomas (picture left) then Resident Chaplain of St Clement Danes. John served in the RAF from 1941 to 1946 and then 1951 to 1976 achieving the rank of Group Captain and Assistant Chaplain in Chief, Air Ministry.

Air Commodore Felicity PeakeIn 1996, under Air Commodore Felicity Peake’s tenure of leading the Friends (picture right), the Friends achieved its charitable status.

We are a group of individuals who share a common goal in seeking to provide an important underpinning to the work and ministry of the Central Church of the Royal Air Force. We also help to bring the church to life through our activities, including an annual concert featuring the choir of St Clement Danes and The Central Band of the RAF or The Band of the RAF Regiment. We have a Friends Service annually as well as the production of two editions of our own magazine Oranges and Lemons. This is full of relevant and interesting articles and a platform for you to contribute and communicate with other Friends.

We welcome new members from all walks of life.

What are our aims?

Our mission is to encourage growth in the membership of the Friends of St Clement Danes through promotion of what St Clement Danes provides spiritually, socially and culturally.

The Charity's objectives as stated within our constitution are;

  • The furtherance of the religious, commemorative and charitable work of St. Clement Danes Church.
  • Supporting the relationship between St Clement Danes Church, its congregation and the Royal Air Force community.
  • The restoration, upkeep, improvement and adornment of the contents, fixtures & fittings of St. Clement Danes Church

We consider the ongoing work of St Clement Danes vital and the need to get the church resplendent for the RAF’s centenary in 2018 and beyond, so there is much for the Friends to do. We must build on the successes of the past and sensitively continue to support the church and the wider Friends organisation to ensure that we remain relevant and a force for good in the 21st Century. Thanks to the generous aid of the Royal Air Force, the Friends have an excellent and fully functional interactive website to enable us to reach out and communicate with a much wider audience. We are making good progress in spreading the word with regard to our efforts but we are always looking for like-minded people to join us!

What have we achieved?

The Friends are proud of the work that we have funded. We have made substantial financial contributions towards refurbishing the vergers’ office plus the kitchen area (including appliances) within the church and have purchased new comfortable chairs for the Crypt. We have recently invested in a new vestments wardrobe, the case and electrical wiring for Book of Remembrance No XI, new surpluses for the choir and refurbished kneelers for the communion rail amongst many other investments. Alongside these improvements we should not forget that St Clement Danes is a place of worship, reflection and remembrance.

The Friends are extremely grateful to The Coutts Charitable Trust who have so generously supported our activities in recent years.

Why not join us?

If you would like to help St Clement Danes, the President and Patrons invite you to make a subscription and become part of a worldwide association of Friends. That in itself will be greatly valued. You will also be warmly welcomed to this historic and beautiful church and have the opportunity to meet other Friends who are dedicated to maintain the fabric and further the religious, commemorative and charitable work of this most beautiful of churches, ‘the Jewel in the Strand’. You may like to assist with welcoming visitors to the church or help with our many various activities in other ways. If you are unable to visit the church regularly, or even at all, your membership would be very much appreciated and will allow us to further our work. Do not underestimate the positive effect on the church that your help or donation, however small, will have which is appreciated by both the Friends and church staff.

Please email [email protected] to request a membership form.

The Friends of St Clement Danes Trustees

Patron in Chief

  • HRH The Duke of Gloucester KG GCVO


  • Air Chief Marshal Sir Richard Knighton KCB ADC FREng


  • The Venerable Ray J Pentland CB KHC BA DPS MTh RAF

Vice Presidents

  • The Venerable Peter Bishop
  • The Venerable Ron Hesketh


  • Chairman: Group Captain Mark Heffron RAF
  • Secretary: Chris Priebe Esq
  • Treasurer: Scott Williamson Esq
  • Membership Secretary: Squadron Leader Gavin Turnbull

Board of Trustees

  • Group Captain Mark Heffron RAF
  • Wing Commander Chris Hill
  • Flight Lieutenant Ian Perring RAFVR(T)
  • Daniel Kettle Esq
  • Chris Priebe Esq
  • Squadron Leader Gavin Turnbull
  • Scott Williamson Esq
  • Co-opted: Wing Commander Di Bentley
  • Reverend Mark Perry RAF – Resident Chaplain

Oranges and Lemons Publication 

Connect with St Clement Danes Church