Ex-Harrogate mayor's tribute to inspirational Knaresborough vicar Bill Snelson who has passed away

Tributes have been paid to a well-known clergyman who lived in Knaresborough but whose decades of service to the church made an impact felt far and wide.

Monday, 1st February 2021, 2:29 pm
Flashback to 1975 when the Rev "Bill" Snelson was appointed Vicar of St Matthew's Church in Chapel-Allerton in Leeds at the age of 30. He is seen here at the time with his wife Beryl and children Clare (5) and Mathew (3).

The Reverend Bill Snelson, who died at 75, moved from parish life to work ecumenically, becoming general secretary of Churches Together in England for 11 years.

In retirement at Knaresborough he became development officer for the Anglican Centre in Rome’s Doria Pamphilj Palace, which aims to strengthen links with the Vatican and Roman Catholic Church.

He was also interim director between the retiring Dean of Melbourne and his successor, the New Zealand Archbishop Sir David Moxon.

Honorary Alderman of the Borough of Harrogate and former Knaresborough councillor at district and county level Anne Jones said the late of Rev Snelson had been a "truly lovely person."

She said: "I was deeply saddened at the recent passing of Rev Bill Snelson.

"I was honoured to have Rev Snelson as my Chaplain during my Civic year as the Harorgate district's mayor.

"He was a truly lovely person and an inspiration to all, he will be missed.

"My thoughts and prayers go out to his lovely wife Beryl and the whole family."

In his early years as a young vicar, Bill Snelson exercised his priesthood in West Yorkshire, acting as curate at what was then Leeds Parish Church, before becoming, firstly, vicar of St Matthew’s in Chapel Allerton and, later, vicar of Bardsey and East Keswick.

As general secretary of Churches Together from 1997 to 2008, he encouraged an expansion of the membership and oversaw the inclusion of black and minority ethnic churches.

Bill made his own contribution to the debate on 'Communion', a difficult issue ecumenically, through his 2006 book Enriching Communion.

In 2007 he became a key mover in the Set All Free Movement and arranged an ecumenical service in Westminster Abbey to mark the end of slave trading.

He celebrated his golden jubilee of priesthood last September.

Bill Snelson went to Saint Michael's Hospice last November and died on December 17.

Bill was taken into Goldsborough Church to lie there overnight with a lit candle.

After the funeral, his ashes were buried in Goldsborough church grounds, in line with his wishes.

The Churches Together in England website contains a large number of heartfelt tributes to a man who was known for combining good humour with a understanding of the breadth of Church represented in our nation.

He is survived by his wife Beryl, two children and four grandchildren.

For more information and tributes, visit www.cte.org.uk/

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