A correspondent writes:
THE Revd Cyril Payne, who died on 27 December, aged 88, was the
youngest child of four children, and was brought up in Maidenhead,
Berkshire, where he attended the County Boys' Grammar School. After
leaving school, he joined the local Income Tax office, before doing
National Service in the Fleet Air Arm as a photographer. That
sparked a lifelong interest in photography.
On demobilisation, he applied to read Classics at Durham
University. So chaotic was the higher-education system in Britain
at the end of the war that he was transferred from Durham to
Bristol with no say in the matter. This turned out to be a
blessing, and something that he valued for the rest of his life. He
thrived at the University of Bristol, where he read Greek, History,
and Philosophy. He then attended Lincoln Theological College from
1953 to 1955, before his ordination in St Paul's Cathedral.
Long before this, in the church choir in Maidenhead, he met
Shelah in 1947, and, once he had finished his training, they duly
His first curacy was at Southall. This was a very tough
beginning to a professional life that remained full of challenges,
but it was a great training ground, and ultimately extremely
rewarding. In 1958, he became one of the curates of Christchurch
Priory, in charge of St Mary's, Somerford. He remained in
Somerford, where the couple's first two children were born, until
soon after the harsh winter of 1963, when he was offered his first
living, that of Otterbourne, be- tween Winchester and
There, his three children spent their early years; and, in
overseeing the difficult transformation of a small village into a
dormitory town in the 1960s and '70s, he was supported by Shelah.
They always worked as a team, Shelah playing the part of vicar's
wife in a way that few could emulate.
After many years at Otterbourne, he was offered the living of
Milford-on-Sea in 1975, and there they remained until his
retirement in 1990. For Cyril, this was a perfect living, and
Shelah and Cyril spent many happy years there, and formed many
On retirement, having developed a taste for the bracing air of
the sea, and relishing the space of a large attic to accommodate
his model railway, they decided to remain near by, and moved to
Lymington. Not content to stop completely, Cyril continued working
part-time for several years, first at Minstead, in the New Forest,
where there was a vacant incumbency, and then as a retired priest
assisting at St Thomas's, Lymington.
He will be remembered by many people for his huge dedication to
the Church, and in particular for the healing ministry; for his
long participation in church and local choirs; and for his love of
all things to do with the clergy life. As he said himself, "I loved
every minute of it, and thank God for the privilege of knowing so
many wonderful people."
He gradually became frailer, and in the last two years lived in
Belmore Lodge, where he was visited every day by Shelah, and very
regularly by his many friends and family. He died while happily
eating a Christmas lunch in the company of all his family.