After studying Art in the early 70’s I toured the UK, Europe, N America and the Middle East, from 1975 to 1997, as a musician and songwriter. Initially with the five-piece rock band Aaron. We went down well with audiences around the country, mostly in the pub rock venues of the era. On one occasion we were support to the German band The Scorpions. We came across another ‘name’ when we played support to the Noel Reading Band. Noel had been bassist with the Jimi Hendrix Experience. After leaving Aaron during their first American tour I next worked as a session musician touring with the likes of Graham Kendrick and thereafter as a singer-songwriter, both solo and with my own band.
During these years I worked with and befriended many talented performers in the Christian arts scene, Springs Dance Company, Riding Lights & Back to Back theatre companies, poet and rock journalist Steve Turner, fellow singer-songwriters Tony Clay, Keith Loring, Ishmael and many others. Not to mention gifted speakers of the day, such as Dan Cozens, Eric Delve and J. John. Happy and exciting times.
Next, I spent twenty years doing a ‘proper job’ as a Church of England minister. After training and curacy, I was privileged to be Vicar of Crosthwaite Church, Keswick for fourteen years. It was busy work but extremely rewarding. I was also surrounded by beautiful scenery and some lovely kind people. I miss them all.
Since retirement I have had more time for former interests – making music and painting pictures. I do this in what I call my Garden Studio and my cheeky grown up daughter calls my Wendy House. I live in the County Town of Shrewsbury in the beautiful county of Shropshire, which is one of England’s best kept secrets. The county that is, not that I live there – though, come to think of it, that’s not so well known either. I live with my wife Monica; our four children having flown the nest. We are blessed to have three granddaughters.
STUART PENNY – Brief Biography
b. 1952 Zimbabwe (then Southern Rhodesia) Stuart’s father was in the Royal Airforce (UK) and seconded to the Rhodesian Airforce as a pilot instructor. In 1955 the family returned to the UK.
As the family moved around with his father’s work Stuart attended infant and junior schools in several counties. The family base was with his maternal grandparents in Shropshire and
Stuart’s secondary education was at Priory Grammar School for Boys Shrewsbury. Stuart has two brothers and a sister.
1969 – 1971 Foundation course in Art and Design at Shrewsbury Art School.
1971 – 1972 A year out during which Stuart became a Christian whilst hitchhiking in Europe.
1972 -1975 Wolverhampton Art College BA (Hons) Fine Art
1974 Stuart marries Monica. During the next twenty years their four children are born: Joseph (b77), Sam (b79), Alice (84), and their extra blessing, Tobias (b97).
1975 Founder member of Aaron, a five-piece rock band that toured the pub-rock venues of the UK. Playing mostly self-penned songs they had many influences. Their own sound was enhanced with close harmony vocals and three lead guitarists. In 1976 they toured in the American mid-west.
1977 to 1980 Stuart worked as a pick-up band member with various other artists, notably three tours with Graham Kendrick 1977, 1978, 1979; this last one as a duo.
During these and subsequent years he contributed guitar and vocals to albums by others.
1980 – 1997 Stuart formed the Stuart Penny Band (SPB) circa 1980. Their first tour was as support to GK. Over the years a variety of talented musicians were in the live line-up. They and others contributed to the four albums Stuart recorded (see details in the Music section).
Stuart performed around the UK and beyond (in Canada, Europe and the Middle East) both solo and, whenever possible, with the band. He is always willing to talk about his Christian faith and particularly enjoys discussion and being asked questions about faith, so, this was a feature of many of the events that he was involved with. He was invited to sing, speak and lead discussions in Universities, Colleges, Schools and Churches as well as perform in the conventional settings of concert halls and rock venues etc.
1997 Approved for training as a Church of England minister
1997 – 2000 Ridley Hall Theological College Cambridge, CTM, MA
2000 – 2003 Curate Uttoxeter Area of Parishes, Staffordshire
2003 – 2017 Vicar of Crosthwaite St Kentigern, Keswick, Cumbria
2017 Retired!! now the fun begins . . .