Tributes pour in for a well-loved vicar
8:50am Friday 21st September 2012 in Latest News
PARISHIONERS are to attend a special funeral mass to remember retired minister, the Rev Chris Dobb, who has died aged 66.
Mr Dobb, known as Father Chris, served in the Rodbourne area for about 18 years before retiring as the vicar of St Augustine’s Church, in Summers Street, in 1998.
However, he is still affectionately remembered by the congregation and wider community as warm, friendly and helpful.
His funeral cortege will stop outside St Augustine’s on Monday and the church will be open from 3.15pm to 4pm for parishioners to pay their respects, before a public funeral mass at St Mark’s Church, the following day at 1pm.
Carol Holmes, 66, of Fosse Close, Rodbourne, who is one of the church wardens at St Augustine’s, said: “He was such a lovely guy. He couldn’t drive so he would walk around the parish, around the streets and around the shops, and everybody loved him.
“Even if people didn’t come to church, he would be the same with them and treated them exactly the same.
“He would be welcomed into the houses of people who didn’t come to church. They all thought he was a wonderfully warm and lovely character.”
Father Chris graduated from University College, Durham, in 1968 and trained for the priesthood at Cuddesdon College, in Oxford. He later spent a year at the University of London, studying for a post-graduate certificate in education.
He was ordained in 1970 and served his title curacy at St Mary’s, Portsea.
He worked in the dioceses of Portsmouth, Southwark, Bristol and Salisbury.
As the vicar of St Augustine’s, he carried out his duties with the help of his curate, the Rev David Woodhouse.
One of their lasting achievements was to arrange for religious paintings and triptychs to be installed in the main part of the church.
Four months after coming to Swindon, Father Chris told the Adver that Rodbourne had a great community spirit. “It’s like a large village,” he said.
After retiring due to ill health, he moved to Calne.
One of his major retirement projects was to write a biography entitled Freddy Temple: A Portrait, about the former Bishop of Malmesbury.
Neil Fisher, the lay minister, director of music and organist at St Augustine’s, said: “He just managed to get people’s respect and he made a lot of friends as well as being the vicar.
Father Chris died on September 11. On Sunday the congregation lit a candle in the church which will stay burning until after the funeral.
A private cremation will take place at Kingsdown.
Donations for the ambulance service are requested in place of flowers. Cheques should be made payable to Hillier Funeral Service, 170 Victoria Road, Swindon, SN1 3DF.