Lives Remembered: The Revd Canon Clive E. Wyngard

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The Independent Online

My father, Clive Wyngard, who died on 24 March after a long and brave ight against prostate cancer, arrived here from South Africa as a teenager to follow his calling to be a priest. His parents in Kimberley sold their piano to pay for his voyage. He studied at Leeds University then Theological College at Mirfield, Yorks.

In Durham Cathedral, September 1955, he was ordained by the Right Revd Michael Ramsey and served the whole of his ministry in the Diocese of Durham. While hospital visiting in Sunderland he met Elizabeth Maltby, a ward sister, who became his adored wife. She predeceased him in 1992, again after a brave battle with cancer. They had three children, Michael, myself and Andrew.

"Father Clive" as he was known, was a parish priest "who filled his churches" to quote the then Bishop of Jarrow (the Right Revd Michael Ball) and throughout his long ministry he touched hearts and changed lives. His appointments included Vicar of St John's Castleside, County Durham, and Vicar of Beamish, Stanley, during which time he was also Rural Dean of Lanchester. During his ministry at St Giles, Durham, he was thrilled to be made an Honorary Canon of Durham Cathedral. He enjoyed his time as a Cathedral Chaplain, which lasted into his retirement, which also involved talking to tourists visiting from all over the world. From 1987 until his retirement in 1994 he was Master of Greatham Hospital and Vicar of Greatham St John the Baptist.

My dad had played rugby in his school and university days (his nail - less big toes were a grisly testament to this!) and he faithfully followed the North-East football teams. It is perhaps a good thing that he is not here to witness the present state of things there right now. A lot of people who didn't know he was a vicar sometimes couldn't believe it – he had a wicked sense of humour, a mischievous twinkle in his eye and a fondness for a decent claret and a tot of single malt.

Even after retirement Fr Clive never stopped, and we often had to remind him to say "no" to helping out at funerals, weddings and other services. Until very near the end, he never neglected to say his daily Matins and Evensong. He last said Mass on 3 January, his 79th birthday, knowing he would not be able to do so again.

He stayed great friends with the first couple he ever married and although, sadly, one of the partners pre-deceased him, the other was at his requiem mass. The latter was a wonderful celebration of his life. Clive was an inspiration to all of his thousands of parishioners. He always said life must go on and that it's just as well we don't know what is around the corner. We will miss him.

Clare Wyngard

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