Tribute: Hugh Marshall

  |  Published: Dec 1st 2016

Hugh Marshall was born in London and  brought up with his older brother Bill in Taunton where his parents were GPs. After school at Marlborough and two years National Service in the Navy he wentup to Sidney Sussex, Cambridge and then to Lincoln Theological College.

Hugh was Ordained Priest by the Bishop of London in St. Paul’s Cathedral in 1960 and spent 30 happy years in Parish Ministry (Westminster, Hereford, Wimbledon and Mitcham) then six years at Church House, Westminster, heading up the Board of Ministry which, among other things, selects those offering themselves for Ordination. Someone said if anyone can survive the experience of running the Board of Ministry and remain a well-balanced Christian, they deserve medals. Hugh did survive but joyfully returned to Parish Ministry and five happy years in Wendover.

On arrival in Wendover in February 1996, Hugh was excited to see the Free Church and Roman Catholics shared premises and immediately asked how they, with St. Mary’s, could work even more closely together.   This built on the work of the Clergy led Wendover Council of Churches which had already been in existence since the tumultuos 1960s. It led to the forming of a group which included  laity, to explore ways the three congregations could worship and share.  The Clergy formed a strong relationship – meeting monthly over lunch to seek new ways forward. One result was an Emmaus course for people to explore their Christianity, the setting up of a joint Church office and the formal start of Churches Together in Wendover.  The celebration of the First Communion of Easter over several years, was a highlight of that thinking with all three traditions sharing as much of the liturgy as was possible, together in the Parish Church (the biggest of the three Church buildings).

During Hugh’s time at St Mary’s the Junior Church was conceived, began to flourish with input from the Diocesan adviser, and then expanded into the Wendover School premises. Hugh thoroughly enjoyed his role of Middle School Governor; children delighted him. Some may remember a Mothering Sunday service when Hugh baked a Victoria sponge in a Microwave oven on the chancel steps watched by a flock of unusually quiet children.

Hugh was passionately involved in and with Central/Southern Africa and with Botwana and Zimbabwe in particularly. In the mid-1980s he took a 12 week Sabbatical in that area and on a later visit to Matabeleland in 1990, to see an old Botswanan friend recently elected Bishop of Matabeleland (in Zimbabwe), he met with the amazing women in the Mothers Union. This meeting resulted in them sending him their hand-stitched small Altar Linens to sell in this country and beyond. The money returned to them was used to fund much needed projects ranging from communal ovens, to sourcing hand-turning sewing machines and building a market garden. Hugh continued to sell the Linens for over 20 years and the Project still carries on today. Several times, while in Wendover, Hugh had visits from the Bishop and his wife and many would have met with them.  The MU’s latest project is to sink a much needed Borehole at the MU headquarters in Bulawayo and donations made in Hugh’s memory at his Thanksgiving service will be put towards this.

Hugh enjoyed being part of the Wendover community, was frequently seen in the village walking his large Golden Retriever to the woods or onto Coombe Hill or visiting the Cheeseman at the Market and quite often he would be surrounded by small grandchildren on visits to enjoy the wonders of the large Vicarage and its garden.

Hugh retired to Deddington in April 2001. Here he continued with his involvement in (National Lottery) Charities Funding enjoying visiting Youth Clubs to present their cheques as well as his Church Linens Project and picked up on his interest in writing by joining the Writers Group and organising countrywide competitions for adults and young people in conjunction with the Deddington Festival. He was governor and then Chair of the Primary School and set up Fair Trade in the village. He joined the Drama Group – taking to the stage in the annual Pantomime - and singing with impromptu choirs to celebrate significant events.

Hugh died peacefully on 5th October 2016.

Hugh Marshall
Hugh at his retirement
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