Although the Romans were responsible for spreading Christianity to Britain, by the 7th Century Anglo-Saxon invasions had pushed it out of northern England to Scotland, Wales and Ireland. When Oswald became king of Northumbria in 635 AD, he vowed to restore Christianity to his kingdom and so asked the community of Iona (where he was raised) to send missionaries. They first sent Bishop Corman who soon returned to Iona complaining that the Northumbrians were savage and unteachable.
Their next candidate was Aidan who took a completely different approach. His generosity and genuine love for his fellow man showed the people how to lead a Christian life. Oswald gave him the island of Lindisfarne as his base. Praying, fasting and meditating on the Gospels Aidan lived simply sharing what he had with those in need, educating the young, freeing slaves, founding churches and monasteries.
He died on 31st August 651 AD at Bamburgh.
He is the patron saint of firefighters.