Obituary: The Revd Peter Townsend

03 May 2019

A correspondent writes:

THE Revd Peter Townsend died peacefully on 31 March, aged 83, at Leicester Royal Infirmary. He was taken ill shortly after the New Year.

He was born on 16 April 1935 in Harrow, Middlesex, and, after leaving school, he became an accountant. But, like several of his wider family, he felt a calling to the ministry. He attended Billy Graham’s Crusade at Wembley, which he said later had had a deep and lasting impact on his faith.

Peter was a very studious individual as a young man, very analytical; and a survivor of a serious heart operation at the age of 18.

He undertook a theological degree course at King’s College, London, and was ordained deacon on 24 May 1964, being priested in September the following year. While an assistant curate at St Oswald’s, Norbury, in south London, Peter met his first wife, Brenda Blackmore, and they were married at St Oswald’s in July 1966. Sadly, Brenda died in 1984, without children.

Peter and Brenda moved first to St Nicholas’s, New Romney, in Kent, and then to St Francis’s, Westborough, in Guildford. From here, they went to Paulerspury, in Northamptonshire, and then to Peter’s final parish, Greetham, in Rutland.

Peter married again, to Elsie Margaret, in 1992, and, while they did not live together, Peter continued to support her up to her death in 2016.

Peter retired in May 2001, and moved to a small terraced cottage in Oakham, where he joined the congregation at All Saints’ and continued to provide ministry in the local area where possible. Peter was a huge supporter of several charities, including those for ministry in the Middle East, and Christian Aid. He continued to co-ordinate the annual Christian Aid collection, and had been fully intending to do the same again this year.

Peter leaves many friends in the parishes of Oakham and Greetham; a twin sister, Jean, in Harrow; and cousins around the world.

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