Local Faces: Noel & Ann Shepherd

  |  Published: Apr 1st 2010
Noel & Ann Shepherd

Ann was born in 1936 and brought up in Mill Hill, where her parents were members of Union Church. Her father was company secretary of Kodak, so was easily able to obtain colour film in its early days! After North London Collegiate school, Ann went to Roehampton, and then to teach Juniors in south Oxford.

Noel was born in Central China of missionary parents in 1933, and accompanied them back to Southampton that year. From boarding school at Eltham College (evacuated to Taunton in WW2), Noel did his RAF National Service, followed by Durham University (Philosophy) and Mansfield College, Oxford (Theology). Here he met Ann and it soon became ‘romancefield!’

Following Ordination to the ministry of the United Reformed Church, Noel served as a student chaplain in the North East; while Ann taught in Newcastle. They married on April 16th, 1960. Noel then became Assistant at The City Temple, London (associated with the well known preacher Dr Leslie Weatherhead), where their first three children were born: Ruth (who now works as a secretary at The National Centre for Young People with Epilepsy); and twins Joy and Claire. This ‘birthquake’ baffled even the doctors at Bart’s, as Claire (2lbs15oz) arrived twenty minutes later quite unexpectedly! However, she caught up Joy (6lbs 9oz) within a year and they are now both nurses, one in a local Practice and the other with Macmillan.

Ann and Noel moved in 1963 to Sutton Coldfield, where Mary (now a teacher in St. Albans) and John (a Vicar in Chesham) were born. Seventeen grandchildren are a privilege and joy and also a challenge! Family get-togethers are a priority commitment.

Following 11 years at Sanderstead in Croydon; they served in 3 churches united with the Methodists: at Trowbridge, Littlehampton, and Trinity, Harrow. During this time enjoyable ministerial exchanges were made in California, Saskatchewan and Sydney. Noel also led regular Pilgrimages to the Holy Land, Iona, and to the Franciscans in Assisi; as well as making a solo semi-official 3 week visit to the Shankill, Belfast during the Troubles in 1977.

On retirement in 1998, Noel and Ann moved to Wendover, where Rev. John Wyatt and his wife, Jean, were already happily settled. Very soon a vacancy on the Parish Council opened a way for Noel, whose term culminated in a spell as Chair of the Footpaths Committee.

Ann is actually the more energetic rambler; enjoys The Fitness League; and helps with an annual plant sale at the Wendover Free Church, where they are both regular worshippers. Noel is an active member of the Co-ordinating Group of Churches Together in Wendover. As a member of the Christian Aid committee, Ann has organised the Community Ploughman’s Lunch for 10 years. She also works in the Florence Nightingale Hospice shop in the village and sometimes makes soup and bread for the Justice and Peace lunches at the Christian Centre. Both enjoy ‘Wendover Music’; the Village Quiz - as spectators(!) and Aylesbury National Trust; while Noel is sometimes tempted to watch his beloved Arsenal on the big screen at The Rose and Crown!

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