New Chancellor and Order Librarian appointed

St John welcomes Dr Willmore as Chancellor

Dr Gillian Willmore became the Chancellor of The Order of St John on St John’s Day 2020, succeeding Mr Patrick Burgess OBE, who held the post with great distinction since 2014. 

New Chancellor

Dr Willmore lives and works in County Durham in the North East of England, carrying out the volunteer role of St John County Priory Group Chair for Durham, serving St John Ambulance and the members of the Order in Durham and developing local, regional and national St John contacts and links. Her role has also included overseeing nominations for Honours and Awards. Dr Willmore said: “I will always be grateful for the inspiring companionship of St John volunteers and staff members in the North East of England. It is a humbling privilege to be called to contribute to the international work of our Order.”

In preparing to take on responsibility for the central activities of the Order, lead on the Order Honours and Awards internationally and foster relationships with other Johannine Orders, such as the Johanniterorder and the Order of Malta, Dr Willmore says:

If I can look back at the end of my tenure on anything like the contribution made by Patrick Burgess, in his insight, boundless commitment and wisdom as Chancellor over many years, in addition to his acting as the Order’s Honorary Legal Officer before that, I will be a happy woman. Patrick has made an indispensable contribution to shaping the Order into the modern organisation it is today and it is an honour to take over the mantle from him.

Dr Willmore, who works in the University of Durham under her maiden name, Boughton, is currently a visiting Fellow of St John’s College and an Honorary Fellow of St Chad’s College. During her extensive academic career, she was Vice-Principal of St Mary’s College Durham, while teaching in the academic Departments of English and Theology, and a founder member of the International Society for Literary Juvenilia. She has taught voluntarily in women’s prisons in Durham and in Changi, the Republic of Singapore, while working there for the British Council. Dr Willmore has been authorised by the Bishop of Durham to offer intercessions on the Cathedral serving rota, and she is also member of the Anglican Society of St Francis. She is the first woman holding the office of Chancellor of The Order of St John.

New Order Librarian

New Order Librarian

Recently, the Order also appointed a new Librarian. Mr Todd Skilton will also concurrently hold the appointment of Librarian for the Priory in New Zealand and Chairperson of the National Archives and Heritage Committee.

As Order Librarian my duties are to give advice on request of the Senior Officers with regard to the history, customs and traditions of our Order. More generally my responsibilities are to work with all of those who have an interest in the history of our Order and its Establishments and Associations to encourage the preservation, research and publication of our collective heritage. I look forward to engaging and working with the wider St John community during my time in the role.

Mr Skilton is an Officer of our Order and a Justice of the Peace. He is currently Chief Information Security Officer of a statutory New Zealand government entity and holds volunteer governance and leadership roles within the numismatics community.