Obituary: The Very Rev John Wild

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MIGHT a Roman Catholic priest add a comment to your obituary on John Wild (by David Cox, 26 August)? writes the Rev Kenneth Thorns.

Wild began his ministry in St Aidan's, Newcastle, and it was a parish he made a tremendous impression upon and the parish upon him. He never lost touch with it and had a great affection for his first vicar, the Rev Robert Watson, and his wife.

Wild was never happier than when he was surrounded by his old friends from St Aidan's. I well remember such a gathering when he was Dean of Durham. Robert Watson had died and a parishioner said, 'I wonder where Mrs Watson is now'. Wild replied, 'Oh, she lives in Rose Cottage,' and proceeded to give directions on how to get there. 'She will be very pleased to see you. She does get lonely sometimes.' For years after he left St Aidan's, he called on the parishioners he had known.

My uncle was churchwarden when John Wild was curate and for years afterwards, until my uncle's death we were frequently told, 'Mr Wild Called.' I was only two years old when he came to St Aidan's and we left when I was four years old. Yet every time I met him he was always interested in me and my family and he could always tell me news about people at St Aidan's. He ran special services for children during Lent, and I still have two picture books he gave me for attending them.

I recall that, when he was Dean of Durham, a great day was the annual Methodist service held in the Cathedral. The other thing I remember about him was that like many Westcott men of his day he tended to read his sermons. Yes, he was an Academic but his stay at St Aidan's proved his great sympathy for humanity; he arrived when unemployment in the parish was rife and he won the heart of the parishioners by his affection and enduring sympathy for them.