Obituary: The Revd John David Meacham

by
16 June 2017

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A correspondent writes:

THE Revd John Meacham, Vicar of Brenchley from 1974 to 1983, died on 9 April, in Whitstable, Kent. John was born in Plymouth in 1924, to a soldier and a seamstress. He was one of three brothers, raised in Bel­vedere, south London.

After lying about his age and join­­ing the army in the Second World War, in 1944, aged 19, John volunteered to join the Glider Pilot Regiment and trained with the Para­chute Regiment in preparation for the allied landings at Arnhem in September of that year. After the war, in 1946, he joined the Palestine Police Force, and at one stage became the youngest-serving ser­geant in the force.

On leaving the army, John studied at King’s College, London, and St Boniface’s College, Warmin­ster. He took up his first curacy in Maidenhead in 1952, and was or­­dained priest in 1953. While at Maid­­en­­head, John met Joy Ager, a local reporter and bell-ringer. She had been carrying out the humdrum task of collecting names at a wed­ding. They were married in 1955 at Croydon Parish Church, where John had just moved to a new curacy.

In 1958, John became incumbent at St Michael’s, Sittingbourne, in Kent, where he and Joy had three sons, Tim, David, and Andrew. After 16 years, the family moved
to Brenchley, in Kent, and while there, John enjoyed teaching at Tunbridge Wells Girls’ Grammar School.

A move to Great Wishford in Wiltshire followed in 1983. John became Chaplain and Re­­search Assistant to the Bishop of Salisbury. From 1984 to 1989, John was Secretary of the Church of England Doctrine Commission. His wife, Joy, was press officer to the General Synod until 1988.

After his retirement, John studied for and was awarded an M.Phil. from the Open University 1990.

Joy and John moved back to Kent and settled in Walmer, where they enjoyed many happy years, within easy distance of their sons and grandchildren. Joy died in 2010 (Obituary, 14 May 2010), after which John continued living at home for five years, before spending his last two in care homes, finally in Whitstable.

Despite being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2015, John took a keen and active interest in the Church up until his death. His funeral took place on 3 May, in St Mary-in-Castro, Dover Castle, where Joy’s funeral had been held on 16 April 2010.

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