Revd Michael Cripps, who has died at the age of 92, was a familiar figure around Marlborough from the 1980s onwards, in the churches and at public meetings, at the summer fête and the swimming pool, visiting primary school assemblies and care homes, and getting into conversation with people everywhere.
Michael was a history teacher first, and then was ordained in 1959. Ministries followed in Cambridge, Trinity College Kandy in Sri Lanka, Swindon (working ecumenically with a Methodist minister), Aldbourne and Baydon, until 1981 when he joined the Marlborough Anglican Team. Working alongside Wilfred Down, then Henry Pearson, his enthusiasm and gifts of encouragement saw him quickly become a much-loved member of the team. He was totally committed to the Marlborough Ecumenical Partnership and Christian Aid.
He is remembered for his care over baptisms and bereavements, his skill in confirmation and house groups, and for his stimulating sermons. People also recall his lively conversation and debate. In recent years he flourished in a Quiet Group that brought together Anglicans and Quakers for times of shared reflection and silence.
He was a very keen supporter of the Marlborough Brandt Group and the link with Gunjur in the Gambia. Through his involvement with Christian Aid, working with Bill Spray, Chair of the Marlborough Branch of Christian Aid, he encouraged and supported the Annual Lent Lectures by such eminent speakers as Archbishop George Carey and Dr Daleep Mukarji, Director of Christian Aid.
Recognising the concern for the people of Marlborough shared by clergy and GPs, Michael attended meetings to discuss ways of dealing with problems they were regularly finding amongst their congregations/patients, in particular mental health problems caused by such issues as bereavement, divorce or unemployment. He brought a quiet but passionate sensitivity to those discussions from which the group all learnt a great deal.
He ‘retired’ in 1994 and then took up a post as Chaplain to St Andrew’s Church in Pau (SW France), returning to Marlborough in 1996. He was Chair of Tower & Town from 1999 until 2004.
Music was a constant part of his life. He played the piano with enthusiasm and loved listening to classical music (and conducting the radio!). He spoke French, and some German, having done his National Service in Austria. He and Kay enjoyed getting out onto the Marlborough Downs, and loved their walking holidays in the Lake District, and in Scotland and Wales.
Above all, he revelled in family life, with his wife Kay, enjoying their five children, 11 grandchildren and the first great-grandchild, particularly the special holidays and Christmas celebrations when all the family got together.
Michael died peacefully at home in the early evening of 14th October 2020. A family funeral took place at St George’s Church, Preshute, on 3rd November.
Written by Kay Cripps, Jessy Pomfret, Jenny Gwynne, Nick Maurice