Villagers mourn death of their parish priest

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undefinedThe funeral of The Rev Ian Godfrey, vicar of St Luke's Church, Goostrey and St Peter's Church, Swettenham, will take place at St Luke's on Friday, August 26, followed by interment at St Peter's.

Ian's death has stunned villagers who had chatted and joked with him at Goostrey Rose Festival only several weeks ago following an absence from the pulpit due to illness.

One of his last services was a special celebration of the Queen's 90th birthday attended by a packed congregation including the village's scouts and guides, cubs and beavers.

Earlier this year, one of the highlights of his ministry was the visit of the Church of England's first woman Bishop, the Right Reverend Libby Lane, the Bishop of Stockport, to officiate at St Luke's annual Plough Service held at the Orchards Farm, Twemlow.

Parishioners have spoken of their sadness at the loss of  Mr Godfrey who arrived in the village to live at the Vicarage in Blackden Lane as a "breath of fresh air" as he took on the challenge of looking after the church and its flock in both parishes.

"Ian was an amazing man and quickly settled into his work in the parish," said a member of the congregation. "You could hardly keep up with him as he involved himself in church life and village activities. He was particularly keen on visiting people and dropping into the meetings of organisations involving all ages.

"When he became ill he was still very determined to carry out his duties even though at times he insisted on doing them on crutches or from a wheelchair.

"He was certainly one of the most courageous and lovely individuals one could wish to meet. He will be sadly missed by the parish both here and in Swettenham."

A life of service

Mr Godfrey moved to Goostrey in March 2011 with his wife Audrey and their daughter Louise from Mill Hill, North West London.Their two older children Matthew and Christopher, both with established careers, continued to live in Mill Hill.  He was a non stipendiary minister serving John Keble Church, Edgware where he had been attending with his parents and brother since the 1960s before coming to the village.

After leaving school, Mr Godfrey joined Barclays Bank and following a successful career spanning 35 years he was a corporate director when he made the decision to become a full time minister. He was ordained priest in June 2002 at Hampstead Parish Church and was inducted as vicar in April 2011 at St Luke's, Goostrey.