Paul was born in 1922 to a Christian family. His father, a senior army officer, died when Paul was 12. He went to Winchester College, where the motto “manners makyth man” was to prove very influential. He learnt that not only are manners important, but that the privileged must learn to lead and that to lead he must learn to serve.
As he was on the verge of going to Cambridge, the war started and he volunteered for the army, serving his commission in the Rifle Brigade. In August 1944 he was wounded, losing his left leg below the knee. Although not invalided out, he got permission to go to Cambridge in 1945, where he studied Mechanical Engineering. He also rowed again, a sport he had enjoyed at school.
Having gained his degree, he spent 19 years with a Bedford company, making steam turbines, large diesel engines, pumps etc, in due course being promoted to Pump Department Manager. During this time he met and married Hilary (by far the smartest thing he ever did, he says), and they had four children, Clare, Stella, Patricia and Hugh. (Sadly their third daughter, Patricia, died of cancer aged 36 in 1994, only about 18 months after her marriage to Mark here in St John’s Church.)
They left Bedford in 1967 and Paul became General Manager of a pump company in Brentford. Then, after four years, he moved to an international company based in Todmorden. Being responsible for European sales, he moved to Styal to be close to the airport. Here he met the Revd. Peter Hunt, a previous incumbent of Bollington. Paul was Managing Director of this company for 16 years until he retired.
He decided with Hilary that, rather than move back South and leave so many friends behind, they would settle in the area and so ended up in Bollington. Peter Hunt had told them Holy Trinity was a stone’s throw from their new home, and they joined the congregation there straight away. Together they had 12 happy years here until Hilary died of cancer in 1999.
Paul became a governor (then later Chairman) at St John’s School. He also helped found Community Transport for Macclesfield Borough, providing transport for disabled people. His efforts were recognised in 2001 when he was awarded the MBE for service to the community.
At 82 he was interviewed for Bollington Church News Profile Page and declared that he wanted to go on serving the community “at least until I become a thrombosis (the clot that blocks up the system!)”. Paul indeed continued to play an active part in local life and always remained interested in his family and friends and the goings on at church, until after a spell in hospital two years ago his health began to deteriorate and, following a fortnight of being housebound, Paul took his leave of us peacefully at home in the early hours of Michaelmas Day 2012.
He left his body to Newcastle University for research and so his family requested a simple Thanksgiving Service which took place on Saturday 3 November in St Oswald’s Church, attended by over 120 people. The Vicar added the following words to the family’s own tributes:
“As we pray, each of us will undoubtedly bring to mind in thanksgiving to God the particular part Paul has played in our lives. I would just like to give thanks for Paul’s enthusiastic commitment to the life of the church in this parish. He was always concerned that the younger generations should continue to be nurtured in the Christian faith, as witnessed his time spent as Chair of Governors at St John’s School, and later then in my time as Vicar how he delighted in the number of Baptisms we carried out, promising to write to the Archbishop of Canterbury to declare that (contrary to national media scares) the church was alive and well in Bollington!
Paul himself was an enthusiastic member of our Lent Groups and he was the inspiration (although he may not have been aware of this) for the founding of our Wednesday afternoon Faith Hour, an informal open discussion group which has gone on from strength to strength for the past year and a half. Paul has always been a strong supporter of the work of the clergy, both verbally and tangibly, each year marked by a generous cheque for the Vicar (quietly given as was his wont, and of course insisting that no “thank you” was necessary) harking back to the olden days when the Easter Offerings would go straight into the hands of the parish clergy instead of being paid into the coffers of the diocese. Paul was a great benefactor to the parish as a whole over many years, taking his Stewardship responsibilities very seriously, and we have much to be thankful for in that respect, as we have been able to grow and thrive far better than otherwise we would have done. And I’m sure, had he lived, Paul would have been an enthusiastic supporter of our 2012 campaign, our latest fundraising effort aimed at further improving the fabric and facilities of this our parish church. Paul always rang the bell early on Sunday mornings at Holy Trinity Kerridge, calling to worship the faithful flock (which did indeed include a couple of stray lambs one Sunday I recall!).
But most of all I want to give thanks for Paul as a person, a true gentleman and a good friend to many, a very faithful communicant member of the church, for his sense of humour and his unfailing ability to look beyond his own needs to attend to the needs of others. On the Sunday morning at the end of September when I announced the sad news of Paul’s death, I invited members of the congregation to partake of a glass of sherry after the service in memory of Paul, who had himself always embraced this weekly innovation with his characteristic good-naturedness and charm.
So in a few moments of quiet, let us give thanks now for Paul’s whole life and work as we commend his soul to God. May he rest in peace and rise in glory. Amen.”