New Canon Precentor finds her way home as team grows at Wakefield Cathedral


A former Huddersfield music student has been welcomed to Wakefield Cathedral as the new Canon Precentor. 

For the Revd Leah Vasey-Saunders – it is a homecoming of sorts – she studied music at Huddersfield University, sang in the choir at St Peter’s, Huddersfield and sang Evensong at Wakefield Cathedral with St Paul’s singers. 

She grew up in Grimsby where she said her love of music was nurtured by some wonderful music teachers and the Grimsby and Cleethorpes District Youth Orchestra.  

 She spent some of her youth growing up in Saudi Arabia which showed her how faith could be lived out in very visible ways – a formative  time in her own coming to faith. 

 A year out found her in a busy three church benefice in St Alban’s Diocese which was followed by a gap year at St Alban’s Cathedral – she first acted as cantor at choral evensong here.   

 She was sponsored by the historic diocese of Wakefield and trained at Cranmer Hall and it was here she met her husband to be, Mark, so Leah did not return to Wakefield at that time but served two parishes as a curate in the Diocese of Newcastle and as an incumbent in a parish in Lichfield Diocese and then latterly as Priest– in– Charge of Harworth and Bircotes in Southwell and Nottingham.   


She and Mark have four children aged between 5 and 12 – Reuben, Jude, Elias and Miriam.


Leah was installed in Wakefield Cathedral on June 5 and said: “Coming back to West Yorkshire does feel like coming back to a place that was so important in my faith and vocational journey.  


“It feels like returning to my roots… both geographically and musically – and I am looking forward to combining my musical gifts with my liturgical, organisational and leadership skills.


The newly reordered Cathedral and its context in the city of Wakefield and newly formed diocese provides a wonderful opportunity for creative, mission focused worship and ministry.  


“I am really excited to be taking up this post ,” she added.


And then there were two…..



The Chapter of Wakefield Cathedral will also be strengthened at Petertide with the ordination of Tim Stevens. Tim trained for ordination on the Yorkshire Ministry Course where he read for an MA in Liturgy.  Tim is married to Jolene and they have two children, William aged 3 and Bethany aged one.  A former organist in Headingley for over ten years, Tim has has worked in retail for fifteen years, most recently for Asda where he has been based in their head office in Leeds for the last four years. 

Tim likes to spend as much time as possible enjoying his family, who like to join him in walking trips (although some of them get carried more than they walk!), and is currently exploring as many railways as possible with his son and as many parks and zoos as possible with his daughter.  


Tim takes up his post on July 3.

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