Fr. Ian Nichols has been an Honorary Assistant since September 2000. Before that his wife, Jean, and their eldest daughter, Janet, had been singing in the Choir at St. Thomas's for several years. Ian and Jean have three adult children and six grandchildren.
Ian was born in Kent, England, and came to Canada at age 10 with his parents, brother and sister. He studied at the University of Toronto and Wycliffe College, and was ordained deacon in 1964 and priest in 1965. For eight years he served in the Diocese of Fredericton, as assistant curate in the parish of Fredericton and then rector of the Parish of Stanley. He moved back to Toronto in 1972, and served as Associate Priest at St. Wilfrid's Islington, and Rector of St. Nicholas Birch Cliff.
In the mid-1970s he began to have increasing difficulty with his eyesight because of a degenerative condition called retinitis pigmentosa, and was registered as a blind person in October 1977. His significant difficulty with independent mobility made him look around within and outside the Church for an alternative form of ministry, and in 1978 he went to London, England to take the course in physiotherapy run by the Royal National Institute for the Blind. Upon his return he obtained a position at the Toronto East General Hospital, where he worked as a physiotherapist until his retirement in 2003.
Through all those years he continued to practice his vocation as a priest, as an Honorary Assistant at St. Michael's Highgate in London, at St. Nicholas Birch Cliff, and at the Church of St. Simon-the-Apostle in Toronto, before coming to St. Thomas's.
At St. Thomas's Fr. Nichols' role is mostly liturgical. With the necessary assistance he officiates or assists at Sunday services, and celebrates a weekday Mass twice each month.