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Obituary: Canon Paul Iles

01 July 2022

Canon Bruce Saunders writes:

CANON Paul Robert Iles, who died on 12 May, aged 85, was educated in Bristol, and at Fitzwilliam House, Cambridge, and Salisbury Theological College. While serving his title in Salisbury, at St Michael and All Angels, Bemerton Heath, under Canon Arthur White, he was also Chaplain of Bishop Wordsworth’s School, where he later taught, and a Vicar Choral of Salisbury Cathedral.

Arriving at Bishop Wordsworth’s School straight from college in 1961, Paul was a breath of fresh air, barely ten years older than some of the students he was teaching, and with whom he shared the theological excitement of those Honest to God years. His influence on countless students, several of whom went on to be ordained, was lifelong and was eloquently attested in eulogies at his funeral.

After a second curacy in Bournemouth and incumbencies in Bristol and Oxford, he was, in 1983, appointed Canon Precentor of Hereford Cathedral, where his gifts as a lucid preacher, author, and teacher, an imaginative liturgist and an accomplished musician (he was a youthful Fellow of the Royal Society of Organists) were fully used until his retirement in 2003.

Paul became an active member of the ministry teams at Prestbury and in North Cheltenham for as long as his increasing immobility allowed. His funeral in Prestbury, full of the music and readings that he had chosen, was a joyful occasion, with people from every chapter of his life and ministry remembering him with love, laughter, and gratitude. He was a fine priest, a talented human being, and a good friend, whose life was truly devoted to God.

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