'God Squad' swap sermons for sport as they take on triathlon in Horwich

Revs Kathleen Loughlin, Stephen Foster and Graham Cutler

Revs Kathleen Loughlin, Stephen Foster and Graham Cutler

First published in News The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , news editor

THESE three hospital chaplains are more used to sermons than sport.

But as part of ‘The God Squad’ they will be swapping services for swimming, cycling and sprinting when they take part in a team triathlon later this week.

All three work part-time at the Royal Bolton Hospital and, although they were reluctant to reveal their exact ages, they will each undertake one leg of the national NHS Fun Triathlon in Horwich on Sunday.

Methodist minister, the Reverend Kathleen Loughlin, will be aiming to swim 400m.

Ms Loughlin, who is in her fifties, says she took up swimming in 2001 after many years of ballet “because many of my body parts for other sports are knackered”.

Next up will be the Revered Graham Cutler, Methodist minister, who is his forties. He will take part in the 21km cycle.

The rest of The God Squad describe him as the only “real athlete” as he completed his first marathon this year and will compete in the Paris marathon next year.

Mr Cutler will be competing against his wife Judith, who is in a team of radiographers from Wrightington Hospital. The final leg, a 5km run, will be undertaken by Anglican priest the Reverend Stephen Foster.

He says in his “far distant past” he played football and has been known to gently jog from time to time.

Mr Foster came out of running retirement to take on this challenge.

Other members of The God Squad joked he has been seen breaking into a sweat while putting on his running gear.

His wife, Lillian, is a children’s ward nurse at the Royal Bolton Hospital. Mr Cutler, who is the captain chaplain, would usually be holding a service at Hillside Methodist Church in Brinscall on Sunday, but has arranged for a fellow hospital chaplain to cover.

He said: “We decided to enter to raise the profile of chaplaincy and reflect the good teamwork we have in Bolton. This will show a different image of chaplains.”

Other members of the chaplaincy team from the Royal Bolton Hospital will be cheering them on.

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