Meet the staff

AnneAnne Gaffney

The Centre’s Manager

Hi everybody, my name is Anne and I am married to Dave. As manager of Purley Chase Centre my aim is to make your stay memorable. I want you to feel welcomed, comfortable and content whilst you are here.

My life over the past years has revolved around bringing up our boys along with Dave, and working in the the hospitality business. I have been a full time chef in a busy Italian restaurant for many years.

I love to make people happy.

David GaffneyRev. Dave Gaffney

Programme Director

Hi, Just a few lines to explain where I am coming from.

My position as Programme Director, as I see it, is to try to be in tune with the needs of a rapidly changing nation. It is my firm belief that people need to look after their spiritual as well as their bodily welfare. People seem to want to be presented with rational concepts and to be able to make up their own minds. I will endeavour to help them to walk this path.

Looking back on life, I feel pretty sure that Providence has brought me to this job of Programme Director for the Purley Chase Centre, along with my wife who is the Manager. Now in my fifties, with three grown sons who have all flown the nest, I look back on the main milestones of my life and see that they seem to point here.

As a youngster, in Lancashire where I grew up, life was an endless and exciting adventure which I thoroughly enjoyed. Climbing trees, wandering the woods and cloughs, making dens, damming streams and fishing with friends and cousins remain fond memories. I was also always interested in craft work of any kind. In my early teens I dabbled with woodwork and my mother insisted that I learned to use her sewing machine. I remember her vivid description of what would happen if I got my finger under the needle. However, oil painting was my favourite pastime and I spent most of my school holidays experimenting with all those fabulous colours. Rock climbing was another of my passions and seems to relate to my later desire to climb the heights of understanding of meaningful things.

When I was seventeen two major events occurred in my life, one pleasant and the other unpleasant. The pleasant one was laying awake half the night on a campsite in Penzance listening to the sound of two guitars playing; I was instantly hooked, and today get great pleasure from my own simple strumming.

The unpleasant experience was that of discovering the concept of “environmental pollution” whilst in a general studies lecture at sixth form college. I instantly realised that our way of life would be unsustainable if it continued in the same direction. I am still very concerned but my concern has mellowed away from pure paranoia to something more balanced (not, I hope, resigned apathy).

As far back as I can remember, I have been aware of a Higher Self or Life within, God if you like, but rejected mainstream religion, then Christianity – in my early teens. Still, for me, life had no meaning without an afterlife and so I searched for answers. After many years I again settled for Christianity. But messages which conflicted with my logic such as three Gods and salvation without charity drove me to search for something else. I found that something in modern “writings” such as Rudolph Steiner, Gurdjieff, and Swedenborg . But particularly Swedenborg who’s writings – for me – are a treasure chest of “gems” which seem to satisfy my need for such things.

Careers in construction and general education were full of interest and challenges. Planning and managing the construction of infrastructure, from railways in Africa to water treatment plants in England certainly introduced me to some colourful life, as did teaching physics, mathemetics and business to teenagers. But still something drove me on towards “the search”. Eventually, I found meaning in the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg (and as mentioned above, other modern revelators). I became an ordained minister of the New Church; a Christian Church which draws heavily on Swedenborg’s writings and recognises the validity of all religions.

So in this I find my fulfilment and am willing and keen to help anyone who is searching the paths of life.