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Remarkable record

20 February 2015

THE mind boggles at the fact that Leslie Doe has served as a verger at All Saints', Terling, in Chelmsford diocese, since 1948. Although central records have not been kept, it is thought to be the longest service in the diocese. Mr Doe has lived through the incumbency of 11 rectors, and his nearly 70 years of verging have been under a total of eight rectors and priests. That he managed to remain on good terms with all of them must itself be something of a record.

Born in 1921, he became a teenage bell-ringer, and was one of three volunteer apprentice vergers in 1948. Before long, he became the only verger, and so he remained for the following 67 years. At the age of 94, he is now retiring, and the present incumbent, the Revd Rob Kean, recently led a special "Songs of Praise" service to mark such a significant event. Some 90 people attended, including two past Rectors, the Revd John Smith and the Revd John Hall, who had travelled with their wives from Somerset and Ely.

Mr Doe was presented with a gift, a memory book, and a letter from the Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, "as a small thank you for all his years of quiet, knowledgeable, and truly Christian service to All Saints' Church". At the end of the service, Mr Kean led the singing of "For he's a jolly good fellow".


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