John Pumphrey: North Norfolk and Aylsham vicar

John Pumphrey

John Pumphrey - Credit: Archant

A lay clergyman who was also well-known for his love of music, legal skills and involvement in community life has died, aged 92.

The Rev John Albert Pumphrey was ordained in the Norwich Auxiliary Pastoral Ministry in 1977 by the then Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Maurice Wood in a service at Norwich Cathedral.

He led services, baptisms, weddings and funerals in St Michael's church in Aylsham. And at the age of 86, he was once again granted permission to officiate for a further three years. He was also chaplain at St Michael's Hospital in Aylsham.

Mr Pumphrey was active in Aylsham church belltower where he was captain of the bellringers, and also entertained with comic sketches in concert parties and pantomimes. He reformed St Michael's church choir, which he originally joined as a boy soprano in 1929, and went on to be is leader and conductor for 31 years.

Mr Pumphrey was born in Itteringham on October 28, 1921 to Gladys and Jack Pumphrey, a painter and decorator.

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His main career - spanning nearly 50 years - was as a legal executive, having begun as a 15-year-old clerk at local solicitors David L Walker in 1936.

His training was interrupted at the outbreak of the Second World War, where he served in the Royal Signals in the 14th army campaign from 1943-45 in Burma. He qualified on his return to Norfolk.

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Soon afterwards he met wife Margaret, and married in St Michael's in 1949 and later had a son Paul.

His active life saw him play an integral role in many local organisations including the Aylsham Players, Bure Valley Singers, Meals on Wheels.

He was also a council clerk, including at Aylsham, and published a book about the town. The current vicar at Aylsham the Rev Andrew Beane said Mr Pumphrey was: 'a humble man who loved Aylsham and its people, a godly man who loved the Church,' and a fountain of knowledge about the Church and its people.

Son Paul, 59, said: 'He was a well loved and respected man in this community. He's influenced a lot that has happened in the town and his legacy will carry on.'

Mr Pumphrey died on January 9 and the funeral will take place on Friday January 31 2014, 3.30pm at Aylsham Parish Church.

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