Churches mourn doctor who turned clergyman

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A GROUP of churches faces its second search for a new clergyman in six years after its priest in charge died.

The Rev Dr Roger Brooks, who only joined the Church of England’s Suffolk Heights Benefice in September 2009, from Bradford, has died of cancer at the age of 64.

Lay reader Elizabeth Chenery said: “He’s going to be missed. He was a very good pastor, which means he was very good with people in need.

“If someone was ill he was there, if someone was in hospital he was there and if someone died he would be with the family. That was one of his skills: He had a great love for the people he served”

Being in charge of the benefice he conducted services weekly at Chevington and monthly at Hargrave, Chedburgh, Depden, Rede and Hawkenden.

His death means the benefice has its second vacancy in six years while some parishes have had four in 10 years.

Dr Brooks had been a consultant anaesthetist before being ordained on July 1, 2001. His wife Mary is a surgeon.

He celebrated the 10th anniversary of his ordination with his congregation and Mrs Chenery recalled: “We made him a cake and as he went to cut it he gave the knife to his wife and said ‘you cut it, I’ll hold it still’ – that was typical of his sense of humour.”

He also leaves two sons, Peter, 25, and Michael, 23. His cancer was not found until it was too late for it to respond to treatment.

His funeral will be at Harden Church, Bradford, on Monday at 11.30am. A memorial service will be held in the benefice in the near future.