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18 January 2018


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Bitterne Parker: Andy Smith
Sunday, 10 May 2015 00:00

Andy Smith not so croppedThe Reverend Andy Smith is married to Nicky and has three children: Olive, Etienne and Amélie. He was born in south London but lived for most of his childhood in Poole. This is where he developed his love for the sea that also prompted him to live in Southampton. He studied oceanography here as an undergraduate, and it's here that he met Nicky. Following this, they moved to Oxford where Andy began his vicar training. He's been leading the Church of the Ascension in Bitterne Park for two years now.


The Qs & the As

What’s your link with Bitterne Park?

I live and work here. I’m Church of England Vicar of Bitterne Park.

What’s your earliest memory of the area?

I was a student at Southampton University. My wife Nicky did a nursing placement in the area and I remember driving her to her placement. Before this I had never been to the other side of the river! This would have been around 2005.

How could the area be better?

I love Bitterne Park: there is such a strong sense of community. Over the few years I have lived here it's been good to see more businesses opening on the Triangle. It would be great to see more of this.

Tell us something we probably didn’t know already about Bitterne Park

There are loads and loads of people who live out their faith serving the community in Bitterne Park, from many different churches: Christians that care for their neighbours, visiting them, helping them; Christians that pray and care for our schools, and community; others that visit our care homes; and Christians that feed the hungry and look after the sick. It's often a work that goes unnoticed.

What’s good – or not so good – about the wider city?
I love that we are by the sea. We have good shops, restaurants and transport links. It's great to be able to go to shows at the Mayflower or gigs in the Guildhall, Talking Heads or the Brook. I love eating fish and chips by the sea and being able to get great curry. Being in a city surrounded by cultural diversity and people is great. One thing I would like is if the city could make more of being close to the sea. It seems that because of the docks access to the water in the city is more restricted.

What’s your passion in life?

Following Jesus. There’s nothing else like it.

How do you put bread on your table?

I’ve got a really good bread maker.

What has your career taught you?

To be better at trusting God. You kind of have too being a vicar, but the longer I do the job, the more I discover that God doesn’t let you down. With him things I thought never possible can happen. It's really exciting!

What really gets your goat?

Injustice and poverty.  

How do you relax?

I love to read. I occasionally go running. I love being outdoors with my family.

Which is your favourite pub?

The Butcher's Hook

What are you drinking?

Whatever's recommended in by the guys in the Butcher's Hook.

What do you listen to?
Passenger. Athlete. Paulo Nutini. Jack Johnson.

Can you recommend a really good read?

Alone in Berlin by Hans Falada. Anything by John le Carré: I love a cold war spy novel.

What’s a great day out?

Exploring a new place. Brownsea Island is amazing – you can pretend that you are actually in an Enid Blyton novel!

What scares you?

Pigeons. Not so much scares me but I really don’t like them! One flew into my head in Waterloo Station, so I guess that might be the reason.

What would you most like to change - in the world and in yourself?

There is a whole lot of pain, suffering and injustice that goes on in the world. I would love to make a difference.

What’s on your ‘bucket list’?

Sail from Southampton to New Yorkon the QM2

I would love to visit the Antarctic.  Those that have been say it's stunning.

Tell us a joke

My daughter told me a joke the other day:

Knock knock
Who’s there?
Boo who?
Don’t cry it’s only a joke

Finally, what would be another great question for other Bitterne Parkers?

What is your top place to go in the surrounding area?

Thanks so much for taking part!

The Church of Ascension website is at

Tune in next time when another Bitterne Parker answers our searching questions.

Read about other Bitterne Parkers

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