THE REVD JOSEPH H. DREW
Posted: 02 Nov 2006 @ 00:00
The Revd Joseph Harold Drew, who died on 14 May, aged 97, was remarkable priest. His ministry took him through curacies in Blaenavon anCardiff into the well-known parish of St John the Baptist, Newport, and frothere eventually into the specialised work of a prison chaplain.
Blessed with a fine presence and an acute and sometimes outrageous sense ohumour, he soon made his mark in both areas of work, building up a wide circlof friends. The parishioners of St John the Baptist soon recognised his giftsand when the parish lost its Vicar, they took the unusual step of asking thathe curate should take his place and become the Vicar.
And so it was. The curate became the Vicar, and his pay went up from 250 year to 400 a year, paid quarterly - riches indeed. And it was in this paristhat he ministered all through the war and beyond.
In 1950, however, Jo's ministry took a radical turn, which was to take hiinto some unusual and unexpected places. Whatever the motivation, he appliefor, and was accepted for, work as a prison chaplain.
His first posting was not to a prison, as expected, but to Feltham Borstalas it was then known. This turned out to be a tough enough assignment. But ienabled him to work alongside some fine young men returning from war servic
After five years, he was posted again, this time to even more demanding worin large prisons, first Strangeways, and then Pentonville. Eventually he waappointed to serve in the Chaplaincy Headquarters in the Home Office. The posof Assistant Chaplain General had been authorised.
Jo was appointed, and joined me in what was, certainly for me as ChaplaiGeneral, a happy partnership. Together we saw the Chaplaincy Service grow largand highly respected, as it still is.
Jo's marriage to May was a happy one for all kinds of reasons. It was thsenior Roman Catholic priest who said that her apple pies were the besargument for abolishing celibacy that he knew. The couple were devoted to onanother. When May died, Jo felt the loss intensely, describing himself as nobeing "in the waiting room".
He continued to live in a retirement home in Bexley Heath, near to his soJohn and his family. He died in hospital after a fal