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