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Celebrating

Peter Williams

Our Deacon

in action until
April 2013

 

Eight six three - four double four!

Sad to think we’ll never again hear the distinctive and unvarying way in which Peter answered his phone!

Peter has touched our lives in so many different ways. As College Tutor, Scout leader, First Aid trainer and D of E expedition organiser he was a highly respected mentor to our sons. As teaching colleague, spiritual guide and genial dinner party host he was a dear friend. He will be sadly missed by our whole family.

Dave and Veronica
The photo used for Peter's funeral was an 'extract' from the above made for a particular purpose, but has been put back into context as more appropriate here where his inter-action with the people of the parish is what defined him.for us.

There are many wonderful (and often amusing) stories circulating about Peter. This one, received on the return of the holiday-makers from Portugal, (among whom Peter was expected to be leader as usual) - sums up the Peter we all knew and valued so much, the warmth in his voice telling us at once that he was ready and willing for whatever he needed to do.

He was always there, a rock standing firm for us all through all the changes of so many years, enriching the
life of the parish, progressing 'seamlessly' from teaching at Catholic College and also being very involved with the Scout movement for many years, to becoming a Deacon after he retired, though 'retired' doesn't describe the rest of his life, as can be seen in the following:

He initiated - and remaining heavily committed to - new activities, from teaching and organising the Altar Servers, to Bible Study, to the Passover, the Parish Holidays, the Parish Lunches and much more. Many of these were begun long before he became a Deacon, so the date from which Peter 'began' in our parish is deliberately left blank. Throughout the changes through the years, since before Vatican II, he provided continuity in the parish and lived up to both 'names' of his patron-saint, Peter, the Rock!

Most of these photos were taken after the Millenium when this website was begun, but Peter had already been there in the midst of everything for at least 20 years:


left - shielding the Easter candle as he enters the church for the Vigil. His wonderful singing on Good Friday and at the Vigil especially are sadly missed.
above - so proud of the children he helped with the readings - and also of course the many others over the years that he taught to serve on the altar.
It was not long after he retired that Peter embarked on about 5 years of religious studies with Maryvale, Birmingham, becoming a deacon during Fr Bernard's years in the parish. Many changes took place during those years, both on the religious and on the social side, in all of which Peter was not only heavily involved but also sometimes the initiator. It was a time of change inspired by Vatican 2. It was then, in the 1970s, that the Bible Study group was begun and within a few years the group was holding the Passover Supper as a regular annual event in Holy Week, modelled with some changes on one taking place at Holy Family, Ingol. Over the years many of the parish, old and young (from about 8 upwards) - and many visitors from elsewhere - have attended this event with Peter as the 'Leader', and a Commentator to explain anything that is unfamiliar, lots of hymn singing,and a 3-course meal with wine. The dark in this photo has been kept because the candles are lit in darkness as they should be in an authentic 'seder', mking a very dramatic start to the evening.
The two other 'special' people also commemorated by this photo are Fr Bernard, left and Teresa Worden who taught for many years in our school and and continued to help here and for other occasions well into her 80s..

below not appaluse but accompaniment (03) - and keeping the wine flowing! (06)

It was towards the turn of the century that Peter became aware of numbers of people in the parish who never went on holiday for the simple reason that they had no-one to go with! It was then that he had the idea of starting holidays especially to solve that problem. There was an added advantage for the retired - these holidays could take place in term-time when prices were lower. The first of these was to Loch Lomond.

These holidays have continued ever since, in the autumn or even at times as late as December (at that late date taking advantage of perks such as free drinks from the hotel bar!) , usually varying from one end of the British Isles to the other alternately, Great Yarmouth to Newquay, Cromarty to Eastbourne. He had also arranged both holidays for 2013, firstly to Portugal for May and even the one in the Isle of Wight for October. His absence on both of these was keenly felt. .

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Photos of many of the holidays arranged by Peter are unavailable at present owing to a technical hitch!
They will be restored as soon as possible as part of the record of Peter's legacy to the parish.

 

Just back from Loch Lomond, Peter at the centre back,
a very nostalgic picture for many!

left - There was always a presentation to Peter for all his tireless effort in arranging these holidays

In the beginning Peter offered one holiday towards the end of the year, taking advantge of the cheaper prices at that time. Then one year a parishioner heard Peter discussing a holiday abroad, something they would love to be able to do but were unlikely to do, being now on their own. So they broke in with an eager question; so it was put to the whole group - would they prefer holidays at home - or holidays abroad? The answer came quickly and was practically unanimous: 'Both!' So began the other holiday, usually in May, to Lake Como in northern Italy (and into Switzerland) in 2004, to Malta in 2005, to Como again in 2006, to Lake Garda (and Switzerland), to Menorca, to Calpe in Spain, to Majorca, to Croatia and last of all with Peter to Braemar.

Below - with Derek in Jersey, and a little chilled in the Dolomites!

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Peter also came to most of the parish lunches, which began as evening meals but then changed to lunchtimes as more convenient, and these also included special Christmas lunches each year. In May these usually followed the visit to the shrine at Ladyewell:

At parish meals:
With his
great friend and holiday companion, Arthur
at the Cottage

below -
always caring, concerned and interested - at the Newdrop and the Saddle.

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A comment from a fairly 'new' member of the parish.

It was two weeks before Holy Week and we were reading the 2nd Letter of Peter (the Apostle) in the Wednesday Bible Study. Peter (the Apostle) commented on the second coming of Jesus at the end of times when all the living and the dead will be 'called'.
Peter (the Deacon) was asked if people who die just before the Second Coming are going to heaven or not. He said 'No, people have to wait till the Second Coming of the Lord to be able to enjoy the Glory.'
So the question that followed was, 'So where are all the souls of these people till then.'
Peter (the Deacon) answered that Jesus said 'My Father's house has many rooms, so they must wait in one of those rooms'.
Thus I guess he too is in one of these rooms of the Father's house, waiting for the Second Coming of Our Lord Jesus to enjoy the presence of God for all eternity.

Menchu

There were many times in past years when other relevant passages were read and re-read and discussed, firstly promises of Jesus, at the Last Supper when he told the Apostles, 'Truly I say to you, I shall not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God,' and secondly to the Good Thief, when he told him, 'Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.' Along with Peter (the Deacon) various members of the Bible Study group, all now deceased, were obviously looking forward (hopefully) to enjoying that promised 'new' wine together. It's good to think of them all getting together 'now'... But...the language of time is all we can understand at present. As people in this world we are defined by time. The 'day' to which Jesus referred remains a mystery since time as we know it will not exist. Peter would always call us to order if somewhat futile discussions on these problems ran on too long!

The Scouts had a good time in France!
Peter must have had many adventures on his expeditions with the Scouts. There was one occasion when they all arrived hungry and thirsty at a French farmhouse after a long, hot trek but with neither food or drink left.
Peter asked the farmer's wife if she had anything to feed about 15 hungry and thirsty boys.
'You're very welcome,' she said, 'They can sleep in the barn and I've fortunately plenty of bread and cheese, 'but - ' she added, 'I'm afraid I have nothing for them to drink - except perhaps cider.'
She was certainly right about the food, and the boys slept very well in the barn that night. The only trouble came in the morning when it was at first quite difficult to rouse them - before they set out on their way again in definitely very merry mood.

Derek

Thank you for photos and/or stories. More are always welcome!

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