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Obituary: Canon Peter George Whiteside

03 November 2017

Canon Keith Pound wites:

CANON Peter Whiteside, priest and headmaster, died on 20 October, aged 87, after a short illness.

Peter’s ordained ministry was split between this country and Australia. After studies at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, he went to Cuddesdon in 1955, where we spent two years together in training. Cuddesdon was a somewhat sombre place in the 1950s, but this was tempered by the warmth and mutual support of the student body, of whom Peter was one, with his optimism, his infectious sense of fun, and his easy gift for friendship.

In 1957, he started a curacy at St Stephen’s with St John’s, Westminster, and stayed for four years before being appointed Chaplain to Clifton College, a move into education, which became his major sphere of work for many years. While at Clifton, he married Patricia, and their first two children, Helen (1967) and Paul (1969) were born, with Neil following in 1972. He then took up the headship of Lincoln Cathedral School in 1970, and was appointed a Canon in 1972.

In 1974, Peter was appointed Principal of Wadhurst Church of England Grammar School, a leading church school in Australia. He returned to this country in 1992, settling in Brentford, as a team vicar in his ’60s, and embarked once again on a period of time in parish work. His skills in that area were valued highly by those among whom he worked. In Brentford, he met and married Linda, who was his steadfast partner in life and in ministry for the remaining years of his life.

On retirement in 1997, he moved back to Australia, where he assisted first in the parish of Frankston and then in East Brighton. He and Linda returned to this country in 2005, to Rustington in West Sussex, where he was Hon. Assistant Curate at St. Mary’s, East Preston with Kingston.

Peter’s was a down-to-earth, no-frills, kind of faith. He was serious about serious things, and light-hearted about lesser things. He was a large expansive personality, who was great fun to be with; but those who knew him came to respect the depths of faith and commitment that lay below this jolly exterior.

He was looking forward to celebrating 60 years as a priest next summer. Many friends and parishioners, generations of students at Clifton, choirboys at Lincoln, and even more pupils in Australia are grateful for the contribution made to their lives by this fine and faithful priest.

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