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Queen Mary Alumni

Alumni remembered - Reverend Susan Bull

An appreciation for Reverend Susan Helen Bull (Economics BSc (Econ), 1979).

Photo of Queen Mary alumna Susan Bull

My sister-in-law, Susan Bull, died on 21 December 2022, having been diagnosed just a few months earlier with an incurable cancer. Sue graduated from Queen Mary College, University of London in 1979 with a degree in Economics. She followed this by training as a company secretary and working in the City of London, at the head office of WH Smith, at a marine insurer and at a law firm. However, she had long been aware of a calling into the Church and within a few years of women being admitted to the Anglican priesthood, she was able to pursue her vocation.

Sue was ordained priest in early 1999 and spent a number of years at St Barnabas, Epsom, as a curate. It was not easy and, like many other women priests, at times she faced opposition. But she had a passion for inclusion, and especially for welcoming and caring for any and all who suffered from mental ill-health. Epsom had been the location for a large cluster of mental hospitals and the closure of the hospitals and the introduction of ‘care in the community’ left many people with unmet needs; on their behalf she found a new direction for her ministry and was appointed as a Mental Health Chaplain in two Surrey NHS trusts.

From a weekly drop-in for anyone with experience of mental distress - an initiative based at St Barnabas - the charity, Love Me Love My Mind was born and as a founder trustee, Sue served as Chair of the charity from its beginnings until her death, building a strong community and raising awareness through the Epsom Mental Health and Wellbeing Festival. This event was visited by NHS England, acknowledged nationally as a unique community engagement model and serves as a pattern for other areas.

Sue had pursued academic study alongside her work, studying theology in Switzerland early on and gaining a masters in Theology from Dublin. At the time of her death, she was writing a PhD thesis on why the church had such a poor record in mental health work; St Mary’s University, Twickenham, has awarded her a posthumous MPhil for her work. Her funeral was held on Friday 3 March 2023 in the small Oxfordshire village of Longcot, where she was buried close to the grave of her parents. A memorial service in Epsom was held the following day and attended by well over 200 people. She is survived by her brother, George, four nieces and nephews and a great-nephew. Sue will be greatly missed by family, by friends from her time at Queen Mary and by the many people whose lives were impacted by her work.

Nicky Bull



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