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07 January 2022

Canon Roger Knight writes:

THE Very Revd Derek Norman Hole, a former Provost of Leicester, who died on 4 September, aged 87, became the 44th Rector of Burton Latimer in 1967. His six years as Rector of St Mary’s involved many changes in the church, both the building and its life.

These included the removal of some pews and the pulpit to establish a nave altar, a growing trend of the times, as priests were increasingly celebrating communion facing the people. The Series 1 and 2 communion services were trialled, and service times were changed. Stewardship was developed, and all worship was moved to St Mary’s, the Mission Room being closed. He also discovered and restored the wall paintings depicting St Catherine on the north wall.

He was a town councillor and was well connected and influential wherever he worked. He was extremely social and a regular visitor. When my family and I moved in in July 1969, he arrived shortly after the removal van had departed.

After leaving Burton Latimer, and in retirement, Derek maintained links with our town, returning to take services when asked. He would always enjoy a walk “up the Wold” between the services at 8 and 10 a. m. He was the first President of the Friends of St Mary’s.

Derek had been ordained in Leicester Cathedral and served his title in the diocese before becoming Domestic Chaplain to Joost de Blank, the Archbishop of Cape Town. He served a second curacy in Kenilworth, before moving to Burton Latimer.

In 1973, he was called back to Leicester, as Vicar of St James the Great, and he also served as a Chaplain to the Queen. In 1992, he became Provost of Leicester. He was awarded honorary doctorates from both De Montfort and Leicester Universities.


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