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Our vice presidents

Since our beginnings in 1967, Crisis has benefitted from the help of three key figures in pastoral life and the arts, helping us to establish our services and garner support on a grand scale.

The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Webley has been the Archbishop of Canterbury since 2013. In 2016 he donated Card Aid proceeds from his annual Christmas card to Crisis and in 2018 he kindly allowed Crisis to benefit from the proceeds of Lambeth Palace’s Garden Open Day.

Lambeth Palace’s association with Crisis does, however, go back almost 50 years. In 1969, the Most Reverend Arthur Michael Ramsey (1961-74) launched Crisis’ annual march, a 65-mile ‘reverse pilgrimage’ from Canterbury cathedral to London. His successor, Donald Coggan (1974-80), continued this tradition and for 7 years lent the charity the Gatehouse at Lambeth Palace, to house donations of food and clothing for Crisis at Christmas. He also lent the charity St Mary’s church next door as a Christmas centre. Archbishop Robert Runcie (1980-91) became vice-president of the charity in 1982, a hereditary honour maintained by subsequent Archbishops. In 2008, Rowan Williams (2002-2012) hosted Crisis’ 40th anniversary reception at Lambeth Palace.

David Gilmour, guitarist, vocalist, songwriter with Pink Floyd, and a renowned solo artist, has supported Crisis for 22 years. David has been Vice President since 2003, following his generous pledge to donate proceeds from the sale of his London home to our work. These funds were instrumental in building our network of Crisis Skylight centres across the UK, enabling us to help thousands of homeless people nationwide on their journey out of homelessness.  David and his wife Polly Samson, continue to support us year on year through the DG Charitable Trust. 

David’s son Charlie also volunteered at Crisis as a student, and was recently a valued member of News 50, a group of leading journalists advising Crisis on media work during our 50th anniversary.  

Crisis has had an association with the office of the Archbishop of Westminster since the 1970s.  Cardinal Basil Hume (1976 – 99) visited Crisis at Christmas regularly and unannounced on Christmas Day, spending time sitting with and talking to the guests.  He later housed the Crisis office in St Vincent’s convent in Carlisle Place, close to Westminster Cathedral.  By 1980 this location became The Passage Day Centre and its first Administrator was the outgoing Crisis Chair Casper Wherly.