It is with great sadness that we report that John Tilbury passed away in December. His funeral was 28th January 2020 here at St. Mary’s in the Wood, John’s own church for well over 40 years.
He was born and brought up in the Leicester area. His father was away at war in the early years of his life and it was evident through John’s reminiscence of his early life that his mother and granny were great influences and he spoke of his granny with great affection. The church was also a great influence and he recalled attending church meetings when he was a young man and he quite enjoyed these meetings when there was disagreement!
John left and came to study at Leeds University and then made Yorkshire his home. John taught religious education at a school in Ossett.
John was originally a member of the Church of Christ denomination when the URC was formed and his church was one of those that joined to become the United Reformed Church and he became a member here.
He was an Elder and more recently a non-serving Elder. For many years he was Pulpit Supply secretary and retired from that role in 2012. He was also jointly responsible for the church archive and came to help with the ringing of the bell each Shrove Tuesday and led a service of remembrance for past members at noon when the bell was silenced and the pancakes were eaten. John had good Christian values and shared his knowledge of the Christian faith with us here at St. Mary’s. In recent years he was Synod Interfaith representative and also brought his knowledge of other faiths into his sermons.
John spent many Sundays travelling the Yorkshire Synod as he was an accredited lay preacher and there were times when we went for months without seeing him here. John broke his hip a couple of years ago and it was at this point when he did not drive that we saw more of him at St. Mary’s. In the last two years he led worship at St. Mary’s also playing the piano and presiding at Communion. He gave his role the three Ps – Playing, Preaching and Presiding!
Whilst John was often very serious and had strong views about certain things, he had a wonderful sense of humour and quite often could turn a difficult situation into an amusing one.
He lived in his bungalow at Bingley for many years and had friends and ex-colleagues who he used to meet. He loved going to concerts and the opera in Leeds, sometimes staying over night at a hotel in Leeds if it was a late finish.
He had started to help with the Memory Cafe and enjoyed playing and planning what he was going to play. John attended the Memory Cafe Christmas Party the week before he passed and seemed to have a really good time joining in the festive celebrations. He also had started to attend the Veteran’s Lunch Club.
God bless your life John and your contribution to the Christian Faith.
Heather Raistrick January 2020