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02 November 2006

IN THE 1950s, Ken (Kenneth Vincent) Povey was one of my pupils at Holsby in Cheshire, where I taught English. He was the finest schoolboy comic actor I ever knew. I remember his Falstaff, Sir Toby Belch, Tony Lumpkin, and Crichton in The Admirable Crichton, to this day.

We had a job persuading him to play Falstaff, as the language he had to use was in fact too robust for one who was already a committed Christian.

He was already torn between a future in the pulpit or one on the stage. He was not very academic. He had to play the part, since Henry IV was an A-level text, and he had to pass in the subject. He did, just, purely on Henry IV and Jane Austen, for whom he had a great passion.

Then he went to King's, London, for an AKC, and St Boniface's, Warminster, for ordination training. He served his title at St Mary's, The Boltons, in Kensington - rather grand for a country lad. I thought it a mistake. How wrong I was: they loved him.

Churches where he served as a parish priest included Blacon (Holy Trinity without the Walls, Chester), and Gawsworth: his loyalty to Chester diocese was paramount. In between, he also spent five years as Chaplain in Copenhagen and Aarhus.

A lifelong diabetic, he nearly lost his sight, which made ministry in some years difficult. To the end, he maintained, in a very practical way, the link between Church and drama. To quote The Times: "A greatly loved man of God".

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