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06 May 2022

The Ven. Christopher Laurence writes:

AS A teenager, the Very Revd Colin Semper (Gazette, 29 April) was a member of the congregation I served in Lincoln. His parents ran a greengrocers and brought him up in the church. Passing through an untroubled adolescence, at 17, he showed a quite unusual maturity, and was a natural leader among our young members. He also showed great moral courage. Doing his National Service in the infantry, he refused to obey orders to take part in bayonet practice, because he was expected to shout “Bastard” as he plunged his bayonet into a dummy enemy. That was the end of a very brief military career.

Canon Brian Stevenson adds: For two years, from 1967 to 1969, Colin Semper was on the staff of ACCM, and I was one of the ordinands allocated to his “flock”. He took a keen interest in us nutritionally, in a spiritual sense and a physical one. He thought that I needed a good meal from time to time, and so he invited me to dine with him at one or two restaurants around Westminster and Victoria. He was interested in what you were doing and he was fun to be with. We dined well at his expense, keeping up the tradition of Parson Woodford. He had a natural joie de vivre, and a fine speaking voice, with its soft Lincolnshire accent. My Irish accent was much more pronounced, and he advised me to to modify it very slightly but not to lose it. Only my listeners will be able to judge whether I followed his advice to the vowel.

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