Edwin Softley: Minister was Norfolk man at heart

A Methodist minister for more than 40 years, the Rev Edwin Softley, who has died aged 77, was always in demand as a preacher in his native Norfolk.

A keen writer of hymns and poems, he wrote a special seven-verse Celebration for the Queen Mother to mark her 100th birthday. He was delighted to receive a letter from Clarence House and also thanks from the Queen.

Edwin John Softley, who was born at Thuxton, near Dereham, was popular, especially with young members of his congregation, and was always willing to share his love of music with a wide circle. A good organist, he had also acquired several good examples of pipe organs.

After working as a nurse at Aylsham, he decided to study for the ministry and went to Handsworth Theological College, Birmingham, and also studied at Cliff College, Calver, Sheffield.

In his first post, he served with the Birmingham Central Methodist Mission, dealing mainly with drug addicts and alcoholics. He was also chaplain to Boys' and Girls' Brigades and three hospitals in Birmingham.

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In September 1972, he returned to Norfolk as minister of Wells Methodist Church. When the church needed major repairs, including replacement of the floor in 1978, he was again to the fore.

His energy on pastoral duties in the former Fakenham and Wells Circuit was much appreciated and he was soon receiving many requests to preach beyond North Norfolk.

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He transferred to Ipswich, where he made his mark while living at Creeting St Peter. He even wrote a poem in 2000 to celebrate Ipswich Town's return to the Premiership.

Rev Softley remained a Norfolk man at heart and returned to live in Dereham, near his surviving sister, Brenda.

? A service of thanksgiving will be held at Dereham Trinity Methodist Church on Monday, August 22 at 2pm.

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