Our Trustees

Revd. Martin Burrell

Chair of Trustees

Until August 2018 Martin was living in Luton and leading the team.  From 2009 until 2018 he was Chaplain to the Gyspies, Travellers and Roma from the Diocese of St Alban's.   Martin and his wife, Margareta,  have three children, Rebecca, Naomi and Leo.  Martin continues to chair the Churches Network for Gyspies, Travellers and Roma - a UK based group of Christians who seek to help these communities in any they can.  Martin is also UK representative for RomaNetworks - an international Christian group of Roma and non-Roma pastors who are working with the Roma across Europse and beyond.  

Martin Burrell's first vocation was as a professional clarinettist - a career which began in Sweden and ended in Scotland. Called then to serve in the Church of England, Martin’s first post was as curate of St Mary's Bredin, Canterbury.  He then became vicar of St Dunstan's, Cranbrook in Kent. It was there that he was first drawn to the English Romanies living in the parish.  Their ancestors had migrated to England at the time of Henry VIII. Aware of how deeply they were changing his outlook on life and faith, in 2009 he wrote up his experiences in “The Pure in Heart - An Epistle from the Romanies.” 

Moving on to become vicar of Christchurch, Bushmead in Luton, he became aware of the growing number of Roma families from Eastern Europe who were arriving in town in search of work. Clearly, these people were “chips of the same block” as his Romani friends in Kent! Martin embarked on learning the Romani language, sensing that this would be the route to the soul of this most marginalised group in Europe. As he got to know more Roma families, Luton Roma Church began to take shape and Martin was appointed Chaplain to the Gypsies, Travellers and Roma for the Diocese of St Alban's. With the encouragement of the Diocese St Alban’s, Luton Roma Trust was born in 2015 with the specific aim of giving the Roma people a future and a hope such that they had never dreamt of.

As the work of the Trust took off, Martin was provided with a 'house for duty' by the Diocese of St Alban's in return for his work with the Luton Roma community.  This made it possible for him to focus his energies on the work of the Trust.  

Martin retired from his work in Luton in 2018 and now lives with his wife in Canterbury where he has been appointed Bishop's advisor to GTR communities of the Diocese.  

Martin continues to lead the  Churches Network for Gypsies, Travellers and Roma - an ecumencial network of Christians covering the UK.  In January 2021 monthly webinars are planned for those considering working with the Travellers and Roma of the UK.   

Click below to order a copy of Martin's book, "The Pure in Heart - An Epistle from the Romanies" 2009.  This tells the story of Martin's work with the English Romanies in Cranbrook, Kent...

Martin's Book

In 2O2O Martin published a second book which is specifically about his nine year of work with the Roma community of Luton.  "One New Humanity - Scriptural Reflections on the Luton Roma" can be purchased on Amazon either as a hard copy or in Kindle format.  

You can also view the International launch of his book in which he was interviewed for an hour by Melody Wachsmuth of RomaNewtorks.  Click here:    https://www.facebook.com/roman...


Bishop Richard Atkinson O.B.E

Bishop of Bedford


John Barr

John is an English Romani by background.


Stephanie Sayers

LRT - Minutes Secretary

Stephanie worked with the Roma for several years in Romania together with her husband Paul, our Roma Education Champion. 


Liz Hughes

Liz is Senior Chaplain at Luton Airport - where our Roma clients arrive!

Liz started her ministry as a Deaconess in 1983 and made deacon in 1987.
Then privileged to be one of the first women priests in the Diocese in 1994.
Has worked largely in Chaplaincy roles - Hemel Hempstead Hospital 1993-1999, St Francis Hospice 1999-2013 and Senior Chaplain at London Luton Airport since 2013.
During this time worked as NSM curate in the Parishes of Dunstable and Boxmoor and as honorary Chaplain to police and local youth groups.
Since being at the Airport has worked closely with voluntary and statutory organisations supporting people from Romania and other parts of Eastern Europe as they first arrive in this country
Married to Paul (Archdeacon of Bedford) with two grown up children living away from home. 


Valdemar Kalinin

Born in Vitebsk, Belarus, Valdemar (Val’do) Kalinin qualified as a teacher and worked in a school in Belarus. He has a Masters degree in History/Philosophy and Germanic literature. His poems have appeared in local newspapers in Belarus and his collection of poems in three languages (Romanes, Belarusian and English) was published in 2004.

Valdemar came to England in 1995 at the invitation of the Department of Education to work with Romani  from Eastern Europe and Irish Travelers children and families. He translated the whole Bible into the Baltic Romani language which came out in Minsk in 2014.

He resides in London, but he often visits Belarus where he founded the Baltic Romani mission and three Romani-language Bible schools for Romani children and adults.