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02 November 2006

JOHN PENSOM died on 2 July, aged 78, after a fairly short struggle with cancer. He was affectionately known as Mr Christingle, because he was entirely responsible, in the 1960s, for bringing to England the inspiring service that raises funds for the Children’s Society. At first, he met with opposition, because people thought that it was too complicated, and that there was no money in it.

John proved them wrong. Today there is hardly a parish that has not benefited from his vision. Christingle, an attractive form of worship, has overtaken even carols and harvest festivals in popularity. It is an annual occasion on which churches are virtually filled.

John joined the Children’s Society in the early 1950s. He and I both devoted our working lives to the fund-raising team, and eventually became regional appeals directors.

He was quite a character. Once he put “DGO” after his name on the letterhead, which, he said, carried influence. When challenged, he would say that it was a decoration he had been awarded in Yugoslavia during the war. But it really stood for “Damned Good Organiser”. He was exactly that. He leaves a widow, two sons, and a daughter.


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