In the beginning…

The formation of M.A.S.T began in the autumn of 2001 when a number of local ministers stressed the importance of supporting Michael Fentem with his assembly work in their local schools.

These leaders included Rev. John Curran (Matlock Bath CoE), Rev. Robert Quardton (Darley Dale CoE), Pastor Michael Klein (Bonsall AoG), Pastor David Harper (Church in the Peak) and Pastor Alan Smith (Derbyshire Dales Christian Centre).

This was taken up on their behalf by Pastor Smith who formed a small trusteeship of David Quinn (Treasurer, Bonsall AoG), Bill Hawley (Matlock Methodists & Headteacher at Wirksworth Juniors), Melvin Gratton (Derbyshire Dales Christian Centre) and Martyn Pyne (Church in the Peak). Pastor Smith was appointed chairman.

At that stage Michael was involved in 20 schools.

Raising support

Letters were sent to all local churches and many individuals asking for financial and spiritual support for this venture. The response was very encouraging with churches as far afield as Lichfield and Chesterfield supporting.

Over the next two years the number of schools grew to 40 before Michael was joined by James Coates from the Steep Turnpike Evangelical Church.

Steep Turnpike Church had always been very active supporters of M.A.S.T and the trusteeship was further enlarged by the appointment with James in the autumn of 2004 of councillor Jeremy Beckett (Elder of the Church) who is now the chairman.

Over the following years this was enlarged by Sheila Laming (Matlock Bath CofE and Head of Lower Site, Highfields Secondary School), Mavis Salisbury (Matlock Methodist United Reformed Church and former Head of R.E. at Highfields Secordary School) and District Councillor Peter Slack (Wellsprings, Wirksworth).

The trust grew under the leadership of Pastor Smith who stepped down from his role in 2006 and handed over to Martyn Pyne.

2006-2017 – the team grows

Martyn was instrumental in the trust gaining charitable status with the help of Graham Hunt from Church of the Peak. All school workers and trustees are fully DBS checked.

In 2008, the school visitor teams were joined by Ray and Beryl Briddon of Bakewell Methodist Church, who primarily minister in the Hope Valley area.

In 2012, celebrations were held to mark 10 years of M.A.S.T ministry in local schools.

In April 2013, Chris Cookman (Church in the Peak, Matlock) took over as Treasurer from David Quinn and in March 2014, for the first time M.A.S.T completed more than 100 appointments in local schools.

Retirement and new arrivals

In July 2017, Michael Fentem formally retired from MAST. Michael’s last school assembly was, fittingly, at Wirksworth Junior School, where he held his first assembly all those years ago. Thanks to genereous donations from the schools he’s visited, Michael was presented with a painting of Matlock Bath from the early 1800s and a contribution was made to an electric bike. The trustees gave Michael their own donation which would enable Michael and Mandy to have a holiday in Scotland.

2017 also saw Jeremy Beckett become chair of M.A.S.T.

In September 2017, Michael Tinker started conducting MAST assemblies. (The new!) Michael currently goes into 43 schools each half term.

During the summer of 2019 we said a sad farewell to both James&Christine Coates and Ray&Beryl Briddon. Both couples have served faithfully with MAST for many years and we are so grateful for their ministries.

We are currently developing a training scheme for new workers and are excited about what the Lord has in store.