Cyril Westgate: Methodist preacher in Norfolk for more than 70 years

For nearly eight decades, Cyril Westgate, who has died aged 90 at his home at Acle, preached to congregations in his native Norfolk.

Three years ago, he was presented with a certificate to mark his 73 years as a local preacher in the East Norfolk Methodist circuit.

His long service was also recognised because his name was at the head of the list of the circuit's preaching plan.

Born at Ormesby St Margaret on March 20, 1920, Cyril Baden Westgate was nine when his father moved to become the caretaker at Deneside Central Hall, now Christchurch, at Great Yarmouth.

Mr Westgate left school when he was 14 years old and worked in a bakery until he was 18.

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There he had met Tess, at whom he had thrown dough as she walked past. She went on to become his wife on July 5, 1941.

Intending to train for the Methodist ministry, he had gained a place at a Christian evangelical college, Cliff College, in Derbyshire, in 1938.

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After the outbreak of the second world war the following year, all the students were sent home, but that initial training was to stand him in good stead.

Mr Westgate worked at the Cantley beet sugar factory and then a market garden at Upton before he went to work for Moy's coal merchants at Acle.

Always active in the Methodist church, he was a Sunday school superintendent and, as a local preacher, regularly led worship in churches around the Acle and Norwich areas.

He loved singing and often included a solo in his services.

Mr Westgate was presented with a 40-year long-service certificate in November 1978.

He leaves a widow, Tess, daughter Teresa and a grandson Scott, as well as great-grandchildren Markus and Heidi.

A committal will take place at St Faith's Crematorium near Norwich next Tuesday, February 8, starting at 11.45am.

Then a service of thanksgiving will be held at Acle Methodist Church on Thursday, February 10 at 2.30pm.

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