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Tributes paid at cathedral funeral of former Archdeacon of Gloucester Geoffrey Sidaway

By The Citizen  |  Posted: May 12, 2014

By Nick Webster

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The funeral of Geoffrey Sidaway was held at Gloucester Cathedral

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Final tributes have been paid to Geoffrey Sidaway the former Archdeacon of Gloucester who died on Easter Sunday, aged 72.

A packed Gloucester Cathedral joined to offer their respects to Geoffrey who retired from his position as archdeacon in 2012.

Prayers of penitence were led by the Venerable Robert Springett and an Old Testament passage of Lamentations was read by Mrs Judith Knight.

A New Testament reading was also conducted by the Reverend Prebendary Peter Bowers.

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On behalf of Geoffrey’s wife Margaret and the family, his son, Mark, gave a moving eulogy. He spoke of his father’s brave response after being diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour in October, 2012.

He said: “As a family we went through a range of emotions, shock, disbelief, fear and anger.

“Dad described it as a ‘bit of a bugger really, and showed great courage. He never lost his faith, sense of humour or love for those around him.

“Dad had a very mischievous side. He grew up in the back streets of Barrow. His friends have recalled his generosity, boundless enthusiasm and charismatic wit. He showed inspiring leadership and always had a big, beaming smile.

“My memories were growing up in a busy, bustling vicarage. Dad loved to talk, as mum said he would go out to get the morning papers and come back at lunchtime.

“Mum and dad were a brilliant double act. For parish get togethers, dad would say 25 had been invited, but then 50 would turn up.

“Together they made a great team. The only down side was when I would bring friends home - I would say come and meet my parents - my mum works for the police and my dad is a vicar.

“It might have been intimidating on paper, but they were always warm and welcoming. I remember bringing a girlfriend home one Saturday afternoon to meet the family and found my dad on the sofa laughing furiously with the Arch Bishop of Canterbury whilst watching Gladiators.

“Dad had so much energy. That is why as an only child from a working class family and the back streets of Barrow he would rise to become the Arch Deacon of Gloucester Cathedral, it was somewhere that he loved so much and we were all so very proud.

“He had such a zest for life. I remember him doing some publicity to promote a new church extension by taking off in a hot air balloon.

“It took to the skies with dad waving, but it didn’t last long as it took an unscheduled landing in a nearby field that was home to a camp of travellers.

“Although dad loved parish life, he always made time for his family. For myself, my brother and sister, dad was always there to listen, guide and support us. He was great fun to be around.”

The Dean of Gloucester, the very reverend Stephen Lake said: “Geoffrey was brought into the Cathedral on Sunday night so he could have this special place to himself.

“In due course, Geoffrey’s ashes will be interned here so he will become part of the fabric of Gloucester Cathedral.”

A charitable website to receive donations for Macmillan Cancer Support has been set up in his name. To make a donation, visit justgiving.com/Mark-Sidaway.

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  • 4Bambi4  |  May 12 2014, 4:54PM

    One of my favourite and most comforting quotes is one that Geoffrey Sidaway wrote in 2005: "If you feel that God is a long way away from you - remember that HE has never moved!" I have treasured this ever since! I'm sorry that he has died!

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