Service of remembrance for former Westhampnett vicar

A MEMORIAL and service of thanksgiving is to be held for a former Westhampnett vicar today (July 16).

The Rev John Brown passed away on May 25 in Chichester at St Richard’s Hospital, aged 86.

His wife Shirley said he spent all his working life as a minister in the Diocese of Chichester.

He was ordained by Bishop George Bell and his curacy was at St George’s Church, in Worthing.

The couple married in 1957 after meeting in London at the Guild of Health, in Edward Wilson House, Queen Anne Street.

Mrs Brown worked there and ended up showing her future husband around when he turned up to see the work done by the guild.

Mr Brown’s first living as priest-in-charge of a parish was at Holy Cross Church, in North Bersted.

After seven years, he went to St Peter’s Church, in Westhampnett, where he was appointed as chaplain to Graylingwell Hospital. During this period he also spent time as priest-in-charge at Oving’s parish church.

He spent almost 30 years at Westhampnett and then retired to live in Elmer Sands, Middleton-on-Sea, in 1991.

Shirley said her husband was a ‘great campaigner’ who was interested in a great range of topics – everything from missionary work and religion to the prevention of flooding in Elmer.

“As part of his campaigning, he was also an inveterate letter-writer, having many letters published in the Chichester Observer, as well as the Times, Telegraph, and Church Times,” she said.

“For years he also co-wrote a fortnightly column in the Chichester Observer concerning religious matters.

“He was a great family man, and his last years were spent in following the education and future careers of all his grandchildren.”

The couple had one son and two daughters and have eight grandchildren, aged between 30 and 12.

A service of thanksgiving will be held at 11.30am in St Peter’s Church, conducted by Canon Simon Holland, vicar at St. Paul’s Church, in Churchside, Chichester

Mrs Brown said: “He’s left an enormous hole. It’s incredible really.”