AS THE Queen this autumn celebrated 63 years on the throne, Alfred Wood celebrated his own 63rd anniversary — of service as a Reader in the diocese of Southwark.
Mr Wood, who is aged 95, has now preached his last of 753 sermons, at St Margaret’s, Lee, in south London, where he has worshipped for 75 years. A service, with a reception afterwards, to celebrate his long-standing ministry was held at the church, and he was presented with a certificate of service from the Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun.
Mr Wood said that most of his service had been at St Margaret’s, but, as a diocesan Reader, he had also led services in other churches in the diocese, including Methodist and United Reformed churches. He has also written several volumes of history of St Margaret’s.
His wife, Doris, died recently, and Mr Wood has moved in with his daughter. He said that, having lost his wife and moved home, it was especially hard to give up his “main occupation”, but his own health was no longer good.
“I’m quite disabled now with arthritis, and I can only get to St Margaret’s once a month.”
He said that he would always remember a funeral he had taken of a man who had been in prison many times. “He had no friends or relatives, and I took the service entirely alone in the crematorium. It was a very poignant experience.”