Moulton squash coach answers calling to serve God

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A Moulton sports coach and squash international will be serving up sermons in his new role as a trainee vicar.

It was a change of direction for Phil Nightingale when he was ordained as a Deacon at Peterborough Cathedral by Bishop of Peterborough, Rt Revd Donald Allister.

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The 36-year-old is an England international squash player, and a former professional in the sport, but his new-found calling has not been a sudden change.

Phil said: “I grew up in a Christian family and began to think at university how I could serve God.

“I got involved in leadership at the Christian Union, and people said, ‘Have you thought about ministry?’ It was always there, so I had a year out at Moulton Parish Church – combining my squash career with figuring out what I could do in my ministry career.”

Following his graduation in 2005, he turned professional reaching the quarter finals in his first tournament, represented his native Surrey in National Championships and won two professional titles – the Limpsfield Open and the Newcastle Cup in 2014.

Phil also supplemented his income with coaching but it was his year out at Moulton, in the middle of his professional career, that geared his mind towards what he would do when his professional career ended.

In 2015, and his three year ordination training began, leading to his ordination at Peterborough Cathedral.

But this doesn’t mean an end to Phil’s squash career. He has been runner-up in the Karakal British Open (for over 35s) for the past two years, and has also been commentating for BBC Sport this year.

Although the ordination marks a new chapter in his life, he hopes to still maintain an involvement in the game at some level.

He added: “I am looking forward to devoting my energies to ministry now, but still hope to train and play competitively where I can – if time allows!”

Phil will work in the county ministering in the Parish of St Mary’s Church in Rushden with St Peter’s in the village of Newton Bromswold.