Coroner informed of Spalding priest’s death after accident at home

Rev Peter Garland (right) at the University of Durham with former Chancellor, author Bill Bryson.
Rev Peter Garland (right) at the University of Durham with former Chancellor, author Bill Bryson.
  • Tributes continue to be paid to former vicar of Deeping St Nicholas

Tributes continue to be paid to the former vicar of Deeping St Nicholas, Rev Peter Garland, one week on from his death.

Mr Garland (62), who was also vicar of Spalding’s St John the Baptist Church, died in hospital last Thursday after a fall at his home in Spalding two days earlier.

The Archdeacon of Lincoln, the Venerable Tim Barker (second left), with Rev Chris Pennock, the Bishop of Lincoln, the Rt Revd Christopher Lowson (second right) and Rev Philip Johnson.  Photo by David Dawson.

The Archdeacon of Lincoln, the Venerable Tim Barker (second left), with Rev Chris Pennock, the Bishop of Lincoln, the Rt Revd Christopher Lowson (second right) and Rev Philip Johnson. Photo by David Dawson.

South Lincolnshire Coroner’s Office has been told of Mr Garland’s death and it has also emerged that he was due to take a sabbatical, or priestly leave, just three days later.

Meanwhile, more church leaders have been paying their respects, including the former Vicar of St Mary and St Nicolas Church, Spalding.

The Venerable Tim Barker, now Archdeacon of Lincoln, said: “Peter was a remarkable person who seemed to have an immense capacity for hard work, taking on new tasks even when it might have been better for him to decline.

“His commitment to the two parishes was remarkable and I know also that his ministry at the Johnson Community Hospital was much appreciated.

I appreciated Peter’s faithful service, his work as chaplain at the Johnson Community Hospital and his delightful sense of humour.

Rev Anthony Walker, retired pastor of Spalding Baptist Church

“To me, Peter seemed to model the best traditions of the Church of England parson and I have the warmest memories of him.

“I enjoyed learning from Peter and appreciating his intelligence. so his sudden death is a huge shock and both his family and parishioners are much in my prayers.”

Rev Anthony Walker, retired pastor of Spalding Baptist Church, added: “Having served alongside Peter for the whole of his 16 years in Spalding, he and I had a good friendship.

“It came as a great shock to hear of his sudden passing, having preached at St John the Baptist, and he at Spalding Baptist Church, over the years.

Retired pastor of Spalding Baptist Church, Rev Anthony Walker with his wife, Doreen and granddaughter Melissa Gunn.  Photo by Tim Wilson.

Retired pastor of Spalding Baptist Church, Rev Anthony Walker with his wife, Doreen and granddaughter Melissa Gunn. Photo by Tim Wilson.

“I appreciated Peter’s faithful service, his work as chaplain at the Johnson Community Hospital where we would occasionally bump into one another and his delightful sense of humour.

“He was excited about the refurbishment of St John’s but now he is with the Lord whom he served so faithfully.”

Rev Dr Tim Ellis, former Bishop of Grantham and now an assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Sheffield, said: “Peter was a good and faithful priest, wanting no more in life than to serve his parish and people, as well as to give and receive the joy and fun that comes from the life of a priest.

“He was also dedicated to his work as a hospital chaplain in which he would deal with the depth of the human experience and condition.

The former Bishop of Grantham, Rev Dr Tim Ellis.

The former Bishop of Grantham, Rev Dr Tim Ellis.

“Being himself no stranger to suffering and sadness, the warmth of Peter’s smile and the incisiveness of his humour offered hope and promise in the saddest of situations.

“Peter’s life was blessed with a loving and supportive wife and family, but also the affection of his congregation.

“It is very sad news to know of Peter’s passing as he will be greatly missed but, I suspect, never forgotten by those who had dealings with him.”