Jilly Marsh RIP

At Martinmere 3 December 2017

Extracts from the Tribute paid by Fr Simon Marsh at a Thanksgiving Service for his late wife Jilly (23 February 1960 – 13 January 2018).

…Our humanly spoken, or heard, or read, or written words may not speak of all that there is to be said – of any human soul that ever dwelt upon the face of the earth. What is needed that we might reflect inwardly upon any life is some personal experience – even second-hand experience – of what St John, writing about Jesus, spoke of as Logos in Him, and in anyone. Not words, but The Word; the life of God shining at the centre of the being of every incarnate – in-the-flesh – person. St Irenaeus is reputed to have said that ‘the glory of God is in a person fully alive.’ I saw the glory of God in the full and vibrant aliveness of Jilly Mary Tovey. And so, I think, in many different ways and times and places, did many of you. I saw Logos, I saw The Word, in Jilly. She made sense, for me, of the notion of the Body of Christ alive and at work in the world now…

Jilly was never much given to drawing attention to herself. She lived joyfully, simply, thankfully, quietly, and unobtrusively. When asked her profession, from time to time, I can recall no occasion when she replied with more than a smiling ‘oh, just office work’ – but as many letters and cards have testified in these past weeks – and I have been so profoundly comforted by them – she also lived luminously. I’ve been fascinated by the number of family members, colleagues, friends and acquaintances who have spoken or written of a light that shone in and through Jilly.

From the happy days when she read Engineering at Cambridge, revelling in a spell as Captain of the Boat Club and in the hard grind of the discipline and training required of a Cambridge Boat Crew, and on through training to become a Chartered Accountant, and the years of happy labours for ICI, Zeneca and latterly Astra Zeneca – in all of these years the people who lived and worked with Jilly remember her with the deepest admiration and affection.

Jilly never expected in a million years to become a Vicar’s wife! – though she’d have made a fine pastor. Indeed, in countless ways that many of you here recall, Jilly was a fine pastor. I’ve known of few people who would get out of bed at 6am in order to prepare cooked breakfasts that she would deliver around 7am to elderly parishioners en route for her office at Alderley Park. Jilly did not wear her considerable Christian faith on her sleeve; she believed herself called to more practical ‘incarnate’ or in-the-flesh expressions of the Love of God. Time and again, in my presence, I have been privileged to witness people unashamedly tell my wife ‘I love you Jilly!’…. There was a sense of urgency in our house before Christmas this year as, already very poorly, Jilly set her face to ensuring Christmas presents were made ready – some of them knitted by her – and Christmas cakes and puddings were made and distributed – personally, wherever and whenever that was possible, sometimes involving our driving round trips of a couple of hundred miles a time.

Accomplished and delighted walker of Lakeland fells, dearly loved by many, Jilly Mary Tovey whispers to me now: ‘Enough, my love. You’ve said enough. They’ll all be freezing cold!’ …I know that I will never have said enough about her, but I must draw this little tribute to a close, leaving you with your own treasured memories and with this poem, entitled “Roads” by Ruth Bidgood:

No need to wonder what heron-haunted lake
lay in the other valley,
or regret the songs in the forest
I chose not to traverse.
No need to ask where other roads might have led,
since they led elsewhere;
for nowhere but this here and now
is my true destination.
The river is gentle in the soft evening,
and all the steps of my life have brought me home.

Revd. John St Hilary Mullett – RIP

Revd John St H Mullett is on the left of the picture

I was saddened to hear from his daughter Anne that John passed away on the 30th July 2017.

John and his family left Que Que in Southern Rhodesia and came to live (in John’s words) “a sleepy village called Bollington”, I think he would have been very surprised with the changes now!!

He was very much involved with the planning and building of St. John’s School and was thrilled, along with my dad Albert Clayton and Geoff Newcombe who were the churchwardens at the time to be introduced to Princess Margaret who officially opened the new school. They even had afternoon tea with her along with the headmaster Gwilym Humphries and other dignitaries.

He loved his music and you would often hear him playing the organ at St. John’s along with his son John James.  They were both accomplished musicians.

He was always organising Parish Trips which he took charge of with his clipboard in hand, making sure he didn’t lose anyone and everyone was accounted for.

His sense of humour was second to none, always seen with a smile on his face.

He left Bollington early in 1969, but I was lucky enough that his successor the Rev Peter Hunt allowed John to return so he could take part in my marriage service, in fact I had three vicars taking part !!! and the Rev. John Williams who was the curate taking a black and white cine film of the day.

On his retirement he moved to be nearer his family in Cambridge where he was made a Fellow of St. Catharine’s College and just before he died he had a visit from St Catharine’s choral scholars which according to Anne he enjoyed very much.

Jackie Pengelly

Are you in this picture?

While researching for the page on Former Vicars of Bollington, this picture was obtained from the Bollington Photo Archive. It shows a group outside the former Holy Trinity Church, Kerridge.

There are two clergymen in the picture. On the left is Revd Reginald Norton Betts (vicar 1929-1937) standing next to Revd John Kingdon (vicar 1937 to 1947). We think that the picture was taken about 1946.

If you can name other people in the picture or fix the date or occasion, please let us know by e-mail.

Joyce Mullett RIP

(Wife of Revd John Mullett – Vicar of Bollington 1961-69
middle row, second from right – Keep Fit Class, 3 Aug 1961 )


I have very fond memories of both Joyce and John Mullett, so was very saddened to hear of the death of Joyce through her daughter Annie.

I remember her running Keep Fit Classes with the help of Janet Haynes (the curate’s wife) for the ladies of St. John’s; and what fun they had with Joyce being very enthusiastic.

She also loved singing and was a member of the Festival Choir; one of her favourite performances was Handel’s Messiah.

She was very involved with the Mother’s Union up to a few months ago and felt very passionate about this.

Her son John James was a chorister at Lichfield Cathedral and Joyce, along with John, took my parents to attend evensong one winter’s day. On their way home over the Cat & Fiddle their car got stuck in a snow drift, and according to Joyce, fun was had digging the car out, but also worrying that they could be stuck there all night.

Another memory is of a trip to London which Joyce organised for St. John’s Mother’s Union, which would have been very exciting as not many people had ever been to London before. On arrival Joyce told everyone not to be late for the return coach journey home, and if they were the coach would leave without them. A few months later the ladies still laughed, as it was Joyce and a couple of other ladies that ended up being late, and were seen running across Hyde Park in their stockinged feet with the Vicar shouting to them that the coach was about to leave.

Joyce would always tell John off when riding through Bollington on his push bike with his cassock tied around his waist – Joyce thought that this was not what the Vicar of Bollington should be doing.

Joyce will be sadly missed by John, Annie and John James and family and everyone who knew her.

Jackie Pengelly


A trip to St Paul’s Cathedral organised by Joyce, date unknown

joyceMullett2reduced

RIP Revd William David Thomas, former Vicar of Bollington

It was a lovely sunny day in June 2011 – which may seem a long time ago when you read this – but it really was a warm and pleasant afternoon when we gathered together in the Columbarium to bury the ashes of the Revd William David Thomas, Vicar of Bollington from 1947 to his early death in 1953.

For many years his ashes have reposed in a Memorial inside St John’s Church, but with the prospect of alterations to the Church, they were taken to rest for a few months in the little chapel room at the Vicarage and have now been moved to an honoured space in the Columbarium.

Present for the service were Winifred – now aged 90 – (Fr Thomas’ widow, subsequently married to the Revd Dennis Prewer – also present – and both now living in retirement together in Marple) and Daughter Veronica (who lives in Grimsby) and Son Robin (Rob) who lives in Penzance.

The family enjoyed a delightful lunch at the Church House Inn hosted by the present Vicar, with much reminiscing about times gone by and sharing memorabilia, such as Fr Thomas’ first pocket prayer book dating from his time as a Reader before his Ordination. Canon Roy Arnold – who then took the service – welcomed them and some representative members of our congregation who were able to be present and who had fond memories of Fr Thomas’ time as Vicar.

Jackie Pengelly, one of our current Churchwardens, showed Rob a photo taken of the two of them as young children at St John’s School, parading down Palmerston Street dressed up as (cheerful) bride and (somewhat reluctant-looking) groom! Roy recalled how he and Hylda (and others present there) had been prepared for Confirmation by Fr Thomas in the late 1940s – which seems even further away than last June! Roy said that, after Confirmation, Fr Thomas asked him to be a Church Server, but Roy found the prospect so alarming that he completely disappeared from Church Life for a few years. However he returned for the Funeral Service of Fr Thomas (after his sudden death in post in October 1953) when there was a packed congregation in the former Parish Church. At that service Roy realised that he had let the Vicar down and he promised to himself that he would get to know and to work with the next Vicar better…which he did. The rest of that story is – as they say – history, with Roy now approaching the 48th anniversary of his own Ordination this September! Not bad for someone who felt too timid (or unwilling) to be a Server in his younger days.

The memorial tablet, which had been placed in front of the niche in the Lady Chapel holding the marble casket, has now been put over Fr Thomas’ final resting place and bears the simple inscription after his name: “A Faithful Priest”. This is a real tribute to someone whose ministry here (albeit short) has left such a worthwhile legacy.

In September 2012 we heard that Fr Thomas’s widow Winifred Prewer has now died

May they rest in peace and rise in glory.

Veronica