Obituary: Canon Richard Askew

by
05 April 2019

The Revd John Peirce writes:

CANON Richard Askew died peacefully on 19 January, aged 83, surrounded by his family. Though active, he had been in declining health for a couple of years. He and his wife had moved to Bathampton — near the Abbey Rectory where they had lived through the 1990s — and that move had felt like a homecoming for them.

Richard’s gift of friendship included colleagues, former parishioners, and some hundreds who followed him to the Holy Land, Italy, and Turkey (Asia Minor) on 23 pilgrimages. Those journeys had been explorations of the terrain; a reimagining of the events of the New Testament and Early Church; and an encouragement to Christian faith and witness.

Richard George Askew grew up in East Grinstead, was educated at Harrow School, and read Classical Greats at Brasenose College, Oxford. There he came to faith through the ministry of the Oxford Pastorate under Keith de Berry. There, too, he met Margaret, and they started their married life in Khartoum, where Richard had a post with the British Council. They returned to England for the birth of their first daughter, and Richard taught in Newquay. During this time, his call to ministry became clear, and the family moved to Cambridge while Richard trained at Ridley Hall.

After ordination, Richard served assistant curacies at Chesham and Mossley Hill, Liverpool, before taking a dual appointment in Oxford as pastoral chaplain to his former college and St Aldate’s. The next move was to the Rectory of Ashtead, a two-church parish. From here, he was appointed Canon Treasurer of Salisbury Cathedral and Diocesan Advisor on Mission and Ministry, which involved extensive travelling around the parishes of Dorset and Wiltshire.

A natural progression was to Bath Abbey, where Richard balanced a major restoration of the fabric with a deep pastoral care for residents and visitors. He made several attempts at retirement, but, in each place, found himself heavily involved in the ministry of local churches.

Richard is survived by Margaret, his wife and partner in ministry, their four children, 13 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. His memoir, Journey of a Lifetime, was published by Charisma Books in 2015.

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