Rev Walter Currie: Norfolk chaplain’s national bereavement role

A long-serving chaplain and a specialist counsellor in bereavement care at the James Paget Hospital, the Rev Walter Currie, has died aged 72.

As visiting tutor in bereavement studies at City College Norwich, he worked with social services in Norfolk and Suffolk, and was national treasurer of the Council of the College of Health Care Chaplains.

At the age of 60, he took up flying at Norwich Airport after a birthday present from his wife of a trial lesson. Fourteen months later he obtained his pilot's licence. A member of Seething Flying club, he continued to fly a Cessna 172 until relatively recently.

Alongside his pastoral role at the James Paget University Hospital, Gorleston, he taught staff about bereavement and loss. He was a member of the hospital's clinical research and development committee and later became vice-chairman of the local research ethics committee.

Later, he was chairman of the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital's research ethics committee until his diagnosis with advanced prostate cancer.

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He was also chairman of the MIND Resource Centre's management committee in Norwich and a trustee. During his 30 years of ministry in Norfolk, he became the first full-time chaplain to be appointed by the Yarmouth and Waveney Health Authority in late 1987.

After ordination, his first post in 1967 was as curate-in-charge of St Martin's Church, Cromer.

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Born in Shirley, near Croydon, on April 4, 1939, Walter Currie Snook spent three years at King's College, London, studying medicine, which included six months at the Royal School of Mines, Imperial College, doing post-doctoral research. Two and a half years were spent working for the Inland Revenue before studying theology at Tyndale Hall, Bristol.

He returned to Norfolk in 1974 as rector of All Saints' Church, Postwick, and during his 13 years' tenure became part-time chaplain at the former St Andrew's Hospital, the Yare Clinic at the West Norwich Hospital, Priscilla Bacon Lodge and Caroline House in Norwich.

As the size of the James Paget Hospital increased, Rev Currie became the first permanent chaplain and remained for about 14 years until his retirement in 2001.

He is survived by Margaret, four children and 13 grandchildren.

A funeral will be held at Blofield Church on Tuesday, April 3 at 1pm followed by cremation at St Faith's at 2.45pm.

Michael Pollitt

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