The Right Rev Kevin Dunn: Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle

Kevin Dunn had been the Roman Catholic Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle for less than four years, but in that short time had impressed the people of the diocese with his warmth and humanity. He is probably the first Catholic bishop in Britain to have had his death marked by a "podcast" on the diocesan website – the choir of St Mary's Cathedral, Newcastle upon Tyne, singing the "Libera Me" from Fauré's Requiem. Dubbed the "smiling bishop", he was ordained the 12th Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle by his predecessor, Bishop Ambrose Griffiths, in May 2004.

Dunn was born in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, in 1950. He studied at local Catholic schools before beginning his theological studies at Oscott College, Birmingham. He was ordained a priest in 1976 and served in the Birmingham archdiocese in parishes in Walsall, Aston and Stoke, before undertaking further studies in Rome at the "Angelicum", the Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas, where he was awarded a Doctorate in Canon Law in 1991.

He was then appointed parish priest in St Austin's, Stafford, and during this time also lectured in canon law at Oscott College. In 2001, he was appointed full-time episcopal vicar for the areas of Wolverhampton, Walsall, the Black Country and Worcestershire. His appointment as Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle was announced on 20 March 2004, the Feast of St Cuthbert, patron of the diocese, and he was ordained bishop on 25 May, the feast of St Bede, another great saint of the North East.

Last year, Dunn attended the World Youth Day held at Cologne in Germany. He was a regular leader of the diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes, where he took time to encourage young people from to develop their faith. He will be particularly remembered for his support of the Church's work with young people, and the encouragement he gave to Catholic schools. At one conference for schools, he surprised teachers by handing over a huge bag of conkers, which he had collected from his garden for schoolchildren.

He was a member of the Catholic Education and Formation Committee, and of the committee for Catholic Office for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults; he was also Chair of the Canon Law Working Party.

Dunn developed an understanding of the importance to Catholics in the North East of their history, and of the role in that history of local saints. He ensured that work began to refurbish the Church of St Aidan on Holy Island (Lindisfarne), an increasingly popular site of pilgrimage. He also campaigned to raise £2m to establish the Bede Chair of Catholic Theology at Durham University, the first such chair at a secular British university.

He did much ecumenical work in the North East, regularly meeting members of the North East Christian Churches Together group where he was Deputy Moderator. In 2006 he organised a pilgrimage to Rome for local church leaders, the highlight of which was an audience in St Peter's Square with Pope Benedict, who personally greeted the visitors.

Dunn was a keen golfer and organised an annual ecumenical tournament with the Anglican bishop Tom Wright and clergy of the diocese of Durham.

Paulinus Barnes

Kevin John Dunn, priest: born Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire 9 July 1950; ordained priest 1976; Roman Catholic Bishop of Hexham & Newcastle 2004-08; died Newcastle upon Tyne 1 March 2008.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?