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05 July 2019

Canon Michael McAdam writes:

My stay at Westcott House, 1954-56, coincided with the first years of Canon Norman Todd’s chapliancy (Obituary, 21 June).

I think I was not alone in seeing Norman as the conscience of the house. The Principal was Ken Carey. He laid no claim to scholarship, but he was benign, a good listener, and happy to let the house cruise in the distant wake of B. K. Cunningham. The Vice-Principal was Bob Runcie, and inspiring figure driven by a fine mind, who did not feel that a theological college, for all its serious intent, should be a place without laughter.

For Norman, the Chaplain, the ordination that, all being well, awaited us at the end of the Westcott journey, set a seal of solemnity on all that we did. I think we sensed that, at staff meetings, it would be Norman who would ensure that the House would not lose sight of the “object of our journey”. Bob Runcie’s compline addresses we looked forward to. They would be imaginative. There would always be a surprise. The Principals were safe. But the Chaplain would take us to task. Training for ministry was a high calling. His own intellectual gifts guaranteed the worth of what he had to say.

My own ministry, now in its 63rd year, owes much to the Westcott staff of my day. I am deeply grateful to them all, and not least for Norman Todd’s steadying influence.

The Ven. Peter Hannen writes: I knew Dr Derek Holman (Obituary, 21 June) briefly when I was the chaplain at the annual summer choir camp in the diocese of Montreal, and he was the visiting director. He was a most entertaining and sociable companion. An example of his wit came one day when he was all dolled up in full regalia as a Doctor of Music (earned), in the company of an equally gorgeously arrayed prominent English church musician with a Lambeth D.Mus. This latter made the bad mistake of fingering Derek’s hood and murmuring “Artificial silk, I see,” whereupon Derek, fingering the other’s hood, murmured “Artificial degree, I see.” Alas, I know this only by hearsay, but I would have loved to be there.

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