|20 Oct 2022
The Reverend Richard Burningham (E 60-65) passed away on the 26th May 2022, aged 75.
We reproduce the below Tribute to a much loved Vicar which was published in the local parish magazine The Gauntlet with their permission.
Richard was Vicar of St Peter & St Paul’s Parish Church of Somborne with Ashley near Winchester until his passing on 26 May 2022. The obituary below appeared in the local parish magazine The Gauntlet in July 2022 and is reproduced with their permission below.
Richard became vicar in 2019, and for us all, it was a new beginning. After a long interregnum Richard had felt God’s call to ministry here after several years of retirement. Bishop David Williams spoke at Richard’s installation and told us that we were in for a life of surprises. He referred to Richard’s time on the mission field in Uganda and said they were still talking there about the things he got up to! Three years later, we know how true his words were!
Not even Richard could have foreseen that after a year we would be thrust into the paralysis of Covid. He led us through the early stages of that, enabling ministry and worship to continue. Our church was reopened as soon as we were permitted to do that. Richard’s love for God and for his parish remained undimmed throughout this time and through his increasingly debilitating cancer. He endured many treatments stoically in hope and faith. He continued to minister as well as he could to the very last days. He died on 26th May at home with all his loving family around him.
In his memorial service on 21st June, Richard’s friend of many years, Rev Clive Main, talked about how he and Richard met over 40 years ago when they were training for mission Sabine was also there and he could remember how Richard and Sabine met, fell in love and subsequently married. They went off to Uganda and worked amongst a tribe who were feared even by other Ugandans! Their children, Helen, Michael and Christopher were born there and grew up with a love of Africa and hearts for mission. After returning to the UK, they worked in several parishes including Reigate and Weston in Southampton. There they had a wonderful and transforming ministry in a deprived and needy place. That time is remembered fondly in Weston.
Richard’s impact on our church and on all the other places he has served was demonstrated by the large numbers attending his thanks-giving service. Over 250 people crowded into the church and into a marquee where it was relayed for whom there was insufficient space in the church. Many relatives travelled from places including America and Africa as well as from many parts of the UK. There were many ex-parishioners from churches. where he had ministered. The service was a glorious tribute to Richard’s whole life. His children, who had helped Sabine to care for him in the last stages of his illness paid their own tributes in sincere and moving ways.
The hymns for the service were chosen by Richard and he had sent a farewell dispatch to us which is positive and uplifting. Rev Tom Benson conducted the service with warmth and affection and the concluding address, given by the Rt. Reverend David Williams, Bishop of Basingstoke, was a powerful reminder of the remarkable, lovable, and sometimes maddening qualities which made Richard’s service here and everywhere he lived, a visible expression of the love of God for all of His people.
After the service the congregation continued their private memories around food and drinks in the Churchyard. The sunshine that afternoon meant that everyone could enjoy meeting and speaking with each other in comfort.
Many people helped in the arrangements for the service and the wake and their willingness to be involved was, a reflection of their love for Richard and for Sabine. We have been privileged to have such a remarkable and holy man to live amongst us. We shall miss him but not forget him.
Joan and Janet, The Churchwardens