Kemps in Killingworth!

First published on: 26th April 2021

Celebrity father and son Martin and Roman Kemp paid a visit to St John’s Killingworth during filming for a TV programme which delved into their family history.

The well-known pair were tracing their family roots as part of ITV series DNA Journey where they discovered an ancestral connection to Killingworth and St John’s.

It was revealed that through his mother’s bloodline, Roman was related to the Appleby family of Killingworth.

Revd Sarah Moon, Interim Minister of Killingworth Parish, explained to Roman that his great great great grandparents William and Catherine Appleby married at St John’s not long after the church was built, circa 1860 – and showed him the marriage record.

William was a train driver and he and Catherine married so they could travel together to Egypt where he could take up the opportunity to drive the royal train – a very prestigious job!

The Kemps were introduced to members of the Appleby family during filming at the church and also FaceTimed Roman’s mum, Sharon Appleby, to fill her in on what they had found out.

Sarah said: “I always try and say yes to (reasonable) requests, trying to practise the radical hospitality we see in the Gospel, and it does mean no two days of ministry are ever the same! 

“Saying yes to the filming request was just such an opportunity, the chance to welcome folk into church and hear about the central part St John’s Church has played in their families lives for the past 150 years was such a privilege.”

If you missed it, the programme is available to watch on ITV Hub.


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