Nick Allan is celebrating 20 years in the city.
He arrived as a fresh-faced history student at the university in 1993, and worked for ten years in marketing for professional services firm PwC in Sheffield city centre. Now he leads St Thomas’ Church Philadelphia with his wife Marjorie.
The 1,000-strong church is celebrates its tenth anniversary at its campus off Infirmary Road in Upperthorpe. For a while it famously met in former Roxy’ nightclub in Arundel Gate before finding its present base.
Marjorie is a Dubliner by birth, and is a regular speaker at national conferences. The couple lives in Nether Edge with their three young children.
Friendly warm people.
It’s not a stereotype, it’s true that northern folk and Sheffielders are friendly and down-to-earth people, which makes the city such a pleasant place to live. When Marjorie moved here from Dublin this part of culture felt like home from home and other places in Britain are not like this.
Whatever hill you climb, the view across the city is always scattered with trees and parkland. The greenery simply makes you feel more at peace in your heart – whatever’s going on around you.
The city’s vibrant Christian churches
Sheffield has a wrong reputation as the secular ‘people’s republic’. In fact, we are home to several of the largest churches in the UK and Christians in all walks of life are serving and seeking to prosper the city we love, and God loves.
The Christian faith is alive and relevant to 21st century Sheffield, and put into loving action with great integrity by people all across the city.
For ten years my office overlooked the spot at the bottom of Fargate, opposite the Anglican cathedral, where all the city seems to meet. There’s never a dull moment here. It showcases the growing diversity of our city and it highlights the gaps in wealth and opportunity.
I remember our office phoning the police several times to get the worst of the illegal buskers moved on – if you’re going to busk, at least play the instrument properly!
Surprise View & the Hope Valley
I’ve always marvelled at how close Sheffield is to the hills and countryside.
My work colleagues in London used to ask me why I didn’t move closer to the capital, and I’d reply that in Sheffield everything is within 15 minutes drive – national park, my friends, city centre, church, schools, parks....
Whenever we get time out, my wife and I drive to Hathersage to depressurise over a coffee and stroll. I never tire of that ‘surprise’ view as you drive past Foxhouse into Derbyshire and the Hope Valley opens up before you. It’s beautiful in sun, snow or mist and it lifts my spirit.
History hidden in gateposts
We live in Nether Edge, which used to be just a few farms and big houses. Walking the streets of Sheffield is like a detective trail, piecing together the history of the land. I love the industrial areas like Kelham Island or the guessing where the bombs fell during World War Two.
Sometimes all that remains is an incongruous gatepost to provide the clue.
Owl calls in the morning.
A friend of mine visited us recently from London. The next morning he said how surprised he’d been to hear an owl calling. I love how close much of Sheffield remains to nature – foxes, badgers, squirrels, interesting birds (and rats!) all share the green spaces with us.