Canon David Evans: Fenland rector known for getting things done

A parish priest for 21 years in the Ely diocese, Canon David Evans, has died aged 62 at his fenland home after a short illness. It was just a month ago that the rural dean of Fincham and Feltwell was made an honorary Canon of Ely Cathedral.

Regarded for his practical and 'down-to-earth' ministry, the rector of Hilgay with Ten Mile Bank and Southery had the reputation of getting things done. When the mid-Victorian church, St Mary's at Ten Mile Bank was deemed unfit for use because of subsidence, the 250-strong population took up the challenge. Within 18 months, more than �25,000 was raised by a community which had already lost its post office, pub and station. Rev Evans, who held regular services in the graveyard while the church was closed for repairs, said that the fundraising efforts 'brought amazing life to the village. It is just a wonderful response from the villagers.' By the time the work had been completed, it had cost more than �150,000.

Born in Flint, north Wales, he had graduated from the University of Wales with a BSc in 1972 having studied astronomy. Against his parent's initial wishes, he decided to take holy orders. He became a deacon in 1978 and was ordained as priest in the Southwark diocese in 1979.

He moved to the Ely diocese in 1990 as rector of Somersham, Pidley and Old Hurst and was later acting priest in charge of Wretton with Stoke Ferry and Whittington. He had been inducted as rector of Hilgay in 1998 at St Mary the Virgin, Southery, and in 2009 was licensed as rural dean of the Fincham and Feltwell Deanery.

He leaves a widow, Jean, and children Ian, Daniel and Heloise.

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A funeral service will be held at All Saints, Hilgay, today, January 18, at noon, followed by burial in the churchyard.

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