Before the retirement of the Bishop of Durham after February, a singular and distinctive event is taking place at Auckland Castle in Bishop Auckland.

This occasion aims to pay tribute to his ten years of dedicated service to the communities in the North East.

On Wednesday 24th of January at 6pm at St Peter’s Chapel in Auckland Castle, The Right Reverend Paul Butler will be joined for an evening of conversation with the Dean of Durham, The Very Reverend Dr Philip Plyming, to reflect on his role, highlights of the last decade and what’s next for the Bishop and local community.

Questions from the audience will be taken, along with light refreshments provided in the Bishop’s Kitchen at Auckland Castle to round off the evening.

The Bishop of Durham, The Right Reverend Paul Butler said: “Community engagement is pivotal to this role and something I take great pleasure in doing. So,
sitting down for an evening of reflection with the Dean of Durham is a wonderful way to wrap up the decade serving the community I love.”

Visitors can also see a recently unveiled portrait of The Right Reverend Paul Butler at Auckland Castle. Painted by Scottish artist, Mark Roscoe, who was chosen for his warm style and ability to capture personalities, the portrait depicts the faith leader in a suit bought for his daughter’s wedding and features significant religious possessions.

Edward Perry, CEO at The Auckland Project, said: “Faith is a cornerstone of The Auckland Project and is rooted in our history, so we feel passionately about honouring the individuals that dedicate their lives to faith, as Paul has done for County Durham over the last decade.

“In 2023, we unveiled a portrait of Bishop Paul that’s proudly hung in Auckland Castle, depicting the Bishop in the Oratory, a small private chapel where daily prayers are conducted. The picture marks a poignant moment in time and is part of a long history of portraits at Auckland Castle.”

The Dean of Durham, The Very Reverend Dr Philip Plyming, added: “The Bishop of Durham has been more than just a colleague but also a consistent source of inspiration. His services and prayers touch the lives of communities across the area, so it will be a pleasure to relive his highlights over the past decade at this one-off event hosted by The Auckland Project.”

Auckland Castle is part of a collection of attractions where visitors can view art in the historic town of Bishop Auckland. Among them are the Spanish Gallery, home to master paintings from the Spanish Golden Age, the Mining Art Gallery, showcasing the unique culture and heritage of the mining industry, and the recently opened Faith Museum.

Together, The Auckland Project’s attractions tell the remarkable story of Bishop Auckland, from the powerful Prince Bishops of Durham to the town’s surprising connection to the Golden Age of Spanish Art.

Tickets to the event are £12 per person (£10 for Friends of The Auckland Project and Friends of Durham Cathedral), including tea, coffee and cake, and must be booked in advance via

To find out more about The Auckland Project, please visit

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