Meet the team

George Lane

Canon George Lane, has been the Lead Chaplain since February 2012. Ordained in the Church of England in 1993, George has served in parishes in Leeds, Blackburn, East Yorkshire and between 1999 and 2007 was Vicar of Heald Green, at the end of northern end of the runway. Living in the shadow of the airport for 25 years, he has also worked as Communications Officer for the Church of England in Manchester and for a charity promoting inter-faith dialogue and engagement. George says the best thing about his role is the opportunity to work with 25,000+ colleagues around the airport.

David Twomey

David joined the Chaplaincy Team in January 2023 and is the Deputy Lead Chaplain at the Airport.
Prior to ordination in the Church of England, David worked as an Early Years Teacher. Since 2014, he has served in parish ministry in the North East, as Curate and then Parish Priest. David loves the diversity of the Airport, valuing the many opportunities to engage with colleagues, passengers and fellow Chaplains each day. It is a real privilege to be part of the Chaplaincy Team and to share in their commitment to ‘help, support and guide.’ He is married to Colette, who grew up locally in Woodhouse Park.
They have a badly behaved Border Collie called Phoebe, who keeps life entertaining.

Shurma Chowdhury

Shurma is a teacher of Religious Studies and Tajweed, one of the Qur’anic Sciences in Islam. Shurma loves teaching and spending a lot of time with her 4 young children. Shurma volunteers at a local mosque ladies circle and likes to organize events that will help empower women spiritually and emotionally. She is new to chaplaincy but hopes to gain a new insight and further my skills in this field. It is a privilege to work at the airport and be able to assist a wide variety of people from all walks of life.

Moulana Mohammed Faruk Ali

From Bolton, Moulana Mohammed Faruk Ali has been a volunteer chaplain at the airport since 2003. He was a hospital chaplain for 25 years. Chairman of the inter-faith council in Bolton, he hopes to engage inter-faith councils local to the airport to help the wider care of staff, travellers and other people who use the airport. A court interpreter, he speaks English, Gujarati, Urdu, Hindi and Arabic.

Chris Wells

Chris joined the team in March 2022. He was ordained as a Permanent Deacon in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Shrewsbury in 2015 and serves the Parish of St Mary, Middlewich. Chris is married to Teresa and they have seven grown up children and (currently!) four grandchildren. He retired from secular work at the end of 2019 after working in the chemical industry for over forty years.
Both “Chris’s” (see next panel) greatly enjoy the fact that after travelling through Manchester Airport on business for several decades, they have somehow ended up working here in our Chaplaincy!

Chris Goswami

Chris Goswami worked in the tech industry for 30 years, latterly as Vice President of Communications for a Silicon Valley company.  In parallel, he served in several churches (CofE and Baptist) in a variety of roles before training formally as a Minister.
Chris has now retired from commercial work and serves in a voluntary capacity as church minister and airport chaplain.
Originally from India, Chris was brought up as a Hindu before becoming a Christian. He is married to Alison with 3 grown up daughters
Chris writes and speaks for a number of Christian publications on matters of faith, culture and technology. You can find all his work at www.7minutes.net

Pargash Singh

Pargash was born in South Wales before moving to Manchester in 1980 at the age of 11. He lost his Welsh accent during his schooling years. After school Pargash joined the Royal Northern College of Music as an apprentice engineer, after which he worked at the Royal Mail for a short period as an engineer before joining Manchester Airport in 1989 as an maintenance engineer. Pargash has worked through most aspects of the Engineering divisions since then, and currently works in Asset Maintenance Engineering. Pargash is an active volunteer within the Sikh Community working on several projects to help the wider community. Pargash joined the Airport Chaplaincy team in February 2020 as a ‘Volunteer Sikh Chaplain’.

Ian Field

Ian has been a Salvation Army officer for 41 years, now retired.
Ian has been associated with the Chaplaincy since 2000 having spent five years full time as Chaplain from 2000-2005, then Business Administrator for the SA for six years and from 2011, following retirement, as part time Chaplain again at the Airport.
Prior to that he held positions at SA corps (churches) in London and Sale, Manchester as well as eight years on the staff of the SA training college in London.
The Airport is in his blood and it has been a privilege to work within the team over so many years and to have been involved with the life of the Airport and alongside so many staff and colleagues.

Joseph Sandler

Joseph Sandler, Jewish airport chaplain, lives in Prestwich. Born in Dublin, he is married with four children and three grandchild. He has lived most of his life in Manchester, leaving in 1971 to live in Johannesburg, South Africa, before returning in 1975. He is an executive of his local synagogue and a volunteer for the community medical first response team.

Alan Benstock

Alan joined the chaplaincy team in March 2020, having previously been chaplain at Leeds Bradford Airport. He is currently the National Co-ordinator of British Isles and Ireland Airport Chaplains Network and a member of the council of the International Association of Civil Aviation Chaplains whom he officially serves as Media Officer.

Adam Woodhouse

Adam is a United Reformed Church minister, serving the East Lancashire Missional Partnership. Adam became an Airport Chaplain in August 2023, following a placement earlier in the year. He has also served as a Police Chaplain and was as a Street Pastor in Cambridge. Adam has also served placements as a prison Chaplain. Adam’s theology degree dissertation was on the role of Christians in the communities we serve, focusing on Chaplaincy, so, as you can tell, he has a keen and longstanding interest in chaplaincy.
Before being ordained, Adam worked as Senior Youth Worker in Bradford with a focus on young offenders, looked after Children and young carers. He is the chair of the North Western Synod Youth and Children’s committee for the URC.

Saima Alvi

Saima is the Vice Chair of the British Muslim Heritage Centre and also teaches RE in Manchester secondary school. Her MA in Educational Leadership, completed from the University of Manchester, focused on the effects of legislation for Muslims within school communities. Saima was selected as a Commissioner by the Mayor of Greater Manchester to produce a comprehensive report on addressing hateful extremism. Saima is also the Principal of a local faith supplementary school catering for 350 students and is a governor at her daughter’s special needs school as well as a local boys Grammar School. In addition to volunteering as an Airport Chaplain, Saima has been a regular contributor to the media and has represented the Muslim community viewpoint on BBC Breakfast as well as being the focus of a C4 documentary entitled ‘My week as a Muslim’.

Debbie Sawyer

Debbie Sawyer

Until recently, Debbie spent her entire working career in the travel industry, starting at London Gatwick airport with British Caledonian Airways, and ending with British Airways.
A change of direction in her husband’s career led them to rural North Wales where Debbie ran their home as a B&B until the adoption of their son from Guatemala. Next, a family business in worldwide walking holidays sent Debbie trekking far and wide across the globe while at the same time, her Anglican church ministry within the Diocese of St. Asaph began to grow.
Licensed as Pastoral Chaplain and awarded her BA in Theology in July 2023, Debbie went on to experience three months working in Tanzania for her Diocese. During training Debbie spent a placement week with The Chaplaincy, which led to her joining the team as a permanent volunteer.

Jo Lowe

Jo joined us at Manchester Airport chaplaincy as a volunteer in March 2022.
Her regular job is as a District Nursing Sister in Manchester and she has one adult son. Jo is passionate about travel and airports, so chaplaincy is a wonderful opportunity for her. Jo says, “it’s a pleasure and a privilege to be able to develop supportive relationships with the staff at the airport, and gain insight into their various roles. It has been interesting and challenging to be involved in the humanitarian situations I encounter as a chaplain, eg ,helping adults and children escaping war in other countries, when they arrive at the airport, and support for people facing homelessness. Having the opportunity to help is extremely rewarding and enjoyable”. Jo is Roman Catholic Christian, but really appreciates gaining a greater insight into other faiths, by being part of our multi faith Chaplaincy team.