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Obituary: The Rt Revd Paul Barber

12 March 2021

A correspondent writes:

THE Rt Revd Paul Barber, the first Suffragan Bishop of Brixworth, has died at the age of 85.

Born on 16 September 1935, Paul Everand Barber was educated at Sherborne School and St John’s College, Cambridge. After National Service in the Royal Army Service Corps, he studied at Wells Theological College and, in 1961, was ordained pries in the recently built Guildford Cathedral.

He served his title at St Clare’s, in the parish of St Francis, Westborough, Guildford until 1966, when he and his young family moved to Camberley, where he became Vicar of St Michael’s,Yorktown.

During his time in Camberley, he established a temporary shelter for homeless travellers and displaced rough-sleepers in the Church Room, fronting the A30 London Road. This became a welcome refuge to many vagrant men considered by others to be beyond help.

In 1973, he was appointed as Vicar of St Thomas-on-the-Bourne in Farnham, and served as Rural Dean of Farnham from 1974 to 1979. He served on the General Synod from 1979 to 1985 and, in 1980, was appointed Archdeacon of Surrey.

For many years, he captained the diocese of Guildford’s clergy cricket team; he played for The Bourne CC and was later a president of Rowledge CC.

He was consecrated to be the first Suffragan Bishop of Brixworth at Westminster Abbey in 1989 and served in Peterborough diocese for 12 years, living in Northampton.

When he, and his wife, Pat, retired to Street, in Somerset, in 2001, he was appointed an Honorary Assistant Bishop in Bath & Wells diocese

As a knowledgeable and ardent sports fan, with a particular love of cricket, football, and horse racing, he was a member of both Northamptonshire and Somerset County Cricket Clubs and a fan of Aldershot FC and Northampton Town FC.

In 2018, Paul and Pat returned to Surrey, moving to Chertsey to be closer to their family.

He died peacefully at home, with Pat at his side, on 22 February. A memorial service to commemorate his life will be arranged at a later date.

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