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Obituary: The Revd Dr Henry Boardman

20 November 2020

The Revd Simon Moore and the Revd Louise Moore write:

THE Revd Dr Frederick Henry Boardman was born and brought up in St Helens, in the Liverpool diocese. He read physics at Liverpool University, studying under Professor James Chadwick who discovered the neutron in 1932. From there, he served in the Admiralty in the Second World War. He trained for the ministry at Wycliffe Hall, simultaneously achieving a degree in theology through St Catherine’s College, Oxford, which later became an Master’s degree.

Henry was always fascinated by science, and saw that all the laws of science were made by God; therefore, everything that followed on from these laws was also made by God. To him, science and faith went hand in hand.

His first curacy was in Bootle in Liverpool diocese, after which he was appointed Curate-in-Charge of St Oswald’s, Netherton. He was offered the incumbency of Stechford in Birmingham, caring for All Saints’ and St Andrew’s, and was chaplain to Little Bromwich Hospital. In 1963, he was called to work full-time in education. Bishop Leonard Wilson was keen for Henry to continue his ministry, and offered him the post of public preacher in the diocese. Henry was very aware of the difficulty that clergy had in obtaining cover for sickness and holidays, and he willingly took this post.

Henry started his career in education at Bierton Road Secondary Modern School, teaching religious studies and science. After gaining his Certificate in Education, he was appointed to the physics department at Camp Hill Grammar School.

He was seconded from that post to study for his Master’s degree in education at the University of Birmingham, and, as a result of his success in that, was offered the opportunity to study for a Ph.D. He was appointed lecturer in educational psychology at Padgate College of Education, in Warrington.

This move meant that he was back in the diocese of Liverpool, where Bishop Stuart Blanch, who had trained with Henry at Wycliffe Hall, was keen to offer him the post of licensed preacher. Again Henry assisted at many churches, including a time as honorary curate in Sutton, in St Helens, and later in Burtonwood.

In his eighties, Henry was instrumental at St Nicholas’s, Sutton, during periods of extended clergy illness, in ensuring the continuation of lively worship there. The last service that he took was holy communion on Easter Day 2015, when he was 90. Soon after, he felt that he was no longer able to serve God adequately as a priest with permission to officiate. At 93, he moved into a residential home.

Henry was married to Betty for more than 50 years. They were an excellent team together in parish life and in every aspect of life which they shared. He is remembered by his family as a wonderful father and grandfather, setting the example of loving Christian family life.

Henry died peacefully on 9 October, fully prepared to meet his Lord and Saviour, whom he had served faithfully all his life. He is remembered by all who knew him as a gentleman, whose faith shone out in every aspect of his life.

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