Ken Worboys – The Churchman

After 70 years as Sacristan of the Parish Church of St Mary’s, Ken resigned this office in 1995 and Chris Miller, Churchwarden, summed up his contributions to the life of the church.

Ken was 11 years old when he first attended Evensong at Gamlingay. “I fell in love with the church then, and I’ve been in love with it ever since.”
In 1925 he became Sacristan, an office which involves looking after the vessels of the church and generally preparing for Sunday services. This he has done ever since, latterly assisted by a small team.
Ken’s involvement with the church has never wavered, from the time he became Stoker of the boiler in 1916, to the present day. He began to take an active part in church affairs at the age of13 when he became one of six servers. He took charge of the acetylene gas which was used to illuminate the church. At about the time he was appointed Sacristan, he was a member of the bell-ringing t and became Tower Captain in 1929.
“I had two teams of bell ringers, 6 bell-ringers for the morning and 6 for the evening, but unfortunately I could not get them to go in for proper change-ringing. It was my ambition to do 5,040 changes.. I got some visitors to come from other villages who were clued-up ringers, but my lovely old boys wouldn’t wear it so we stuck to ringing 120 changes before each service, each man with a card in front of him so he knew which bell to follow.”
Ken also took on the task of Honorary Verger, attending funerals and generally supporting the priest in his duties.

When Ken married Emily Cooper at St. Mary’s on 2 June 1934 the service was conducted by the Master of Downing College, Cambridge, who had been helping out during a long interregnum. Needless to say, Ken took a major part in seeing the church through four years without a resident priest.

In 1946, after his war-time service, Ken was elected to the Parochial Church Council. Continuing as Sacristan, he became a Churchwarden for 13 years, was Chairman of the Stewardship Committee and a
member of the Restoration Committee. On retirement from these offices, he was appointed Honorary Bedesman, a role which included praying for those in need. In 1962 he was instrumental in persuading
the builders who restored the War Memorial Chapel to waive the last £25 of their £625 bill.

In all that he has done throughout his life, Ken Worboys has been an inspiration to many and his loyal service to the church has been second to none.

(Originally published in the booklet: ‘Ken Worboys speaks…’ by Ishbel Beatty & Daphne Pearce)

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