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Dr Hugh Sansom

by
20 January 2017

Meteorologist and Reader: Dr Hugh Sansom

Meteorologist and Reader: Dr Hugh Sansom

A correspondent writes:

DR HUGH SANSOM, who died on 1 December, aged 92, was born in Milford, Surrey. His father inspired his love of science and flying, and so, after Stowe School, he went to Cam­bridge University, where he read natural sciences and joined the University Air Squadron. His degree was interrupted when he was called up to the RAF in 1943, and he was posted to Bulawayo in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) to com­plete his training. As the Second World War was drawing to a close, he became a flying instructor.

After the war, he completed his studies at Cambridge and went on to study for a Ph.D. in meteorology at Imperial College, London; his re­­search was on cold fronts. In 1950, he began his meteorology career, working for the Overseas Colonial Service in Nairobi, Kenya, where he met Susan Dove, who was living and working there. They married in Nairobi Cathedral in 1951, and brought up four daugh­ters (Helen, Mary, Ann, and Joy) during their time in Kenya.

Hugh worked for the East African Meteorological Department for all this time, starting as a research assistant and finishing as Deputy Director. In 1969, Hugh made the headlines of the Kenya News: he intervened when a gang, armed with machete-type knives, attempted to rob the office on pay day. He suf­fered extensive injuries, but re­­covered quickly. The family left Kenya in 1970, after Hugh had trained a Kenyan to succeed him.

Hugh and the family settled in Guildford; he worked for the Arch­bishops’ Council on Evangelism, the EFAC bursary scheme, and later as Interchange Secretary for the Church Missionary Society. He was awarded the OBE in 1971. He retired in 1985 and, in 1987, he and Sue moved to Langton Green, Kent, where he enjoyed a busy retirement.

Hugh had a strong and active Christian faith, and served as a Reader for 64 years. He regularly ministered in Lavington Church, Nairobi, as well as at St Saviour’s, Guildford, and, for the past 29 years, All Saints’, Langton Green. He stepped down in 2016, because he was not able to travel to keep updated on the mandatory training courses. He served on the General Synod from 1975 to 1985.

During his retirement, besides volunteering at Burrswood, playing tennis, and skiing (until he was close to 90), he was editor of various Christian publications, and also co-author of a biography of Canon David Watson, former Rector of St Michael-le-Belfrey, York.

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