Thursday, April 14, 2016


Debbie, September 1992

I am sorry to have to let you know that Debbie died at St John’s Hospice on Wed 13 April at around 5.50pm. She had not been conscious for a couple of days, and spent the day sleeping, calm and in no discomfort or pain. I was there with Jono, Ellie and Amy when the end came, and it was very peaceful.

The Hospice was where Debbie wanted to be for this stage of her illness, and we are glad that was able to be the case. We are very grateful to all the staff who have made her stay so comfortable, and who have been so hospitable to us.

Debbie's funeral will take place at Morecambe Parish Church, Church Street, Morecambe at 1pm on Friday April 22, followed by burial at Dalton Woodland Burial Ground. Please don't feel obliged to wear black - wear whatever you think appropriately reflects your relationship with Debbie, and what she means to you.

As you would expect, the service was planned by Debbie in advance and has features that very much speak of her. One of them is that Debbie wanted to invite everyone to bring a natural flower to the service - there will be a point where they will be gathered during the service. There's no need to bring a big bunch, and please don't worry about it - we’ll have flowers available for anyone who hasn’t got one.

Everyone is welcome to come to the burial ground for the final part of the service. It is a just short walk from the parking area to the location of the burial. The main path is quite firm, but please bear in mind that some of the ground might be soft going, so have some appropriate footwear with you.

There will be an opportunity to make an financial offering on the day and the money will be divided equally between St John’s Hospice and the work of the national Messy Church team. Anyone not able to come can send a donation for Debbie to the Funeral Directors, Alex Willis Funeral Home, 2 Middleton Road, Heysham, Lancashire LA3 2QD

Thank you for accompanying us on this journey.


Rob McGonigle said...
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Rob McGonigle said...

Thank you for your updates on Debbie's behalf and for confirmation that her wise choice of hospice resulted in a dignified, pain free, peaceful death.

I passed on your sad news around Coventry, at St James, Coventry East Deanery as well as to Penny Hughes and Lesley Johnson. Both of them have testified as to how much they owe to Debbie at the start of their path to ordination.

I had already selected my theme for intercessions after prayer, this Shepherd Sunday, and written the framework, before Debbie died. When I came to add some words for Debbie the rest became complete around her. The hymns could have been chosen for Debbie too. The prayers included: "We here at St James’ also greave her loss and give thanks for Debbie, a gentle, inspiring, shepherdess to us, our bonus woman priest, before your Church in England has ordained any."

You are the second priest I know whose spouse has planned their whole funeral. I was fortunate to attend the funeral of Geoffrey Hughes, Penny's husband. His intellect and humour came through including his research into the depths of the Book of Common Prayer. Debbie's also sounds to be a special service that you understand will "speak of her".

I have just printed the tickets so, Virgin Trains and God willing, Alison and I will with you, your family and her church family to remember, give thanks for and celebrate Debbie's life.

Rob McGonigle.

Mike Peatman said...

Thank for coming all that way to be with us. We're expecting a pretty full house, including a few from Coventry days.

Unknown said...

I have been with you in spirit today, Mike. I am very sorry indeed that I was not able to come to the funeral. Keeping you all in my prayer.