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Obituary: Canon Derek Goodman

03 August 2018

The Very Revd Derek Hole writes:

CANON Derek George Goodman, who died on 11 June, began his Christian journey in Leicester Cathedral where he became a choirboy. It was there that his faith was ignited, and Derek loved his involvement in cathedral life.

Born on 3 June 1934, he went from school in Leicester to Oxford, where he read English. He graduated in 1957 and then trained as a teacher; he initially taught English at Humphrey Perkins School in Barrow upon Soar, Leicestershire. It was at this time that he met and married Margaret, to whom he was happily married for nearly 60 years.

Derek had felt the call to the ministry, and, in 1959, went to Ridley Hall, Cambridge. He served his curacy at Christ Church, Chilwell, near Nottingham, and, four years later, was appointed Rector of St Mary’s, Eastwood, in the diocese of Southwell & Nottinghamshire.

The church building had been destroyed by fire and Derek had to rebuild it. With it, he inherited a small congregation of six active parishioners. In addition to the rebuilding of the church, a youth and social centre was built, and this hosted many social events. Alongside this, the congregation was growing to about 200 Sunday worshippers.

Derek became involved with both Pathfinder and Church Youth Fellowship Associations and organised and led summer camps. He also contributed a tremendous amount to the community: he set up a volunteer bureau in the town, a Citizens Advice Bureau, and a branch of Age Concern. He forged links with the schools and brought church leaders together. Outside the Church, he stood successfully as an Independent member of the Broxtowe Borough Council and was also an active member of the local Rotary Club. While at Eastwood, Derek was appointed Diocesan Chief Inspector of Schools, a position he continued to hold when he became Vicar of Woodthorpe in 1984.

At Woodthorpe, Derek reordered the church and encouraged people to consider their ministry in the Church. He is remembered as a passionate evangelist and teacher, a priest with a pastoral heart and a particular caring for young people. People said that they did not need to go and listen to Billy Graham when they had Derek.

In 1989, Derek was appointed Diocesan Director of Education for Leicester, and, two years later, an Honorary Canon of the cathedral. One of his great achievements was overseeing the establishment of the Board of Education as an independent trust, thus making the financial position of the trust secure. The Board of Education was also responsible for children’s and youth work and he supported both ministries. He had a good relationship with his schools and was well respected by both the head teachers and governors. He retired in 1998.

Retirement proved to be the beginning of a new career. He was already a magistrate and an active Rotarian. He was appointed Chairman of the Monitoring Board at Leicester Prison and a member of the Probation Board. He was also appointed Chairman of Governors of Westgate School, where a new school was built; a non-executive director of Leicester Royal Infirmary; a trustee of the Alderman Newton Trust and, later, Chairman of Governors. He became a Relate counsellor and was also involved in Charity Link.

All in all, he led a full and fulfilling life, until his health caused him problems and here he had the loving support of his wife, Margaret, and his family. A consistent message running through the many letters Margaret has received since Derek’s death is that Derek had touched so many people’s lives over the years and brought many people to faith.

I have always felt that Derek was not only named Goodman but was a good man. As a Christian, he believed that “here we have no lasting city, but look for the city that is to come,” which Derek has now entered and where, we pray, he rests in peace.

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