Canon Alf Hayes, or as he’s far better known ‘Father Alf’, has a long association with the dream of creating of a vibrant, community hub at the former Fleetwood Hospital, and also has a few surprising hobbies!
Alf is a Catholic priest within the Diocese of Lancaster, a huge area covering from the River Ribble in the South to the Scottish Border in the North, including the whole of Cumbria.
After Ordination in 1972, he was based in Preston and Carlisle until becoming an army chaplain in 1980, serving for nearly twenty years and travelling to many different parts of the world.
On returning to the Diocese he became the Dean of the Cathedral in Lancaster and a member of the Diocesan Chapter, working in Preston again and for the last 12 years in Fleetwood as Parish Priest of St Wulstan and St Edmund.
So how did Alf become involved in the plans for the Hospital building?
“In partnership with Rev. John Hall, Vicar of St Peter's, and Tom Birch an Elder from the United Reformed Church, we were all aware that we live in one of the most deprived areas in Britain, but also one with wonderful people and a tremendous sense of community. We started to look at a 'One-Stop Centre' to deal with some of the needs we encounter on a daily basis, often multi-faceted and in need of a holistic response, rather than referral to unconnected agencies.”
“Thanks to the acquisition of the building by the Fleetwood Trust, our dream is fast becoming a reality. Very soon now my parish foodbank and St Peter's Mustard Seed, amalgamated to form 'Faith in the Community' will begin to operate at the corner of Pharos Street and North Albert Street as The Pantry. We are confident this new facility will play a huge part in nourishing not only those in need of food, but also the growth of the aspirational and caring ethos of the whole building, and are really excited to get started”.
In his spare time Fr Alf also enjoys football, growing vegetables, golf, skiing, playing in a rock band and bee-keeping … now come on, you weren’t expecting all that were you!