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"Never a dull moment"

by Michael Ford last modified 23 Apr, 2021 08:26 PM

As a Diocese one of our key priorities is collaborative leadership and that can come in many forms. And most clergy will tell you they would be lost without their administrator. In Sherborne, it’s the end of an era as their Benefice Administrator steps down.

Linda Woods says:

“What a strange feeling to lock the door and walk away from my office after 30 years. It has been a huge privilege to serve the parish of Sherborne and the wider benefice for so many years and there was never a dull moment.

“Over those years I have worked with and been supported by many colleagues, lay and ordained: 2 Vicars, 3 Vergers, 5 Directors of Music, 12 Curates and a veritable army of non-stipendiary clergy, retired clergy and licensed lay ministers.

“Curates: what an interesting bunch to work with and such a wide range of talents between them. One sticks in my mind for his special talent of losing things. He was an indefatigable visitor but invariably left things behind which were then returned to the Parish Office.

“On one occasion his diary was returned, and I put it in a drawer. It was a week later before he admitted he had lost it! How had he managed without it?

“It has been an enormous pleasure to help people in their glad times and sad times. I have worked with some amazing people arranging Royal Visits, Military funerals, exhibitions, lectures, concerts and much, much more. The Royal Protection Squad was huge fun to work, with including the dogs.

“But there were the little things too. Making a cup of tea for someone in distress, talking to a visitor in the Abbey, the list is endless.

“There were, of course, many routine jobs: printing, photocopying, notices for the porch, rotas and so on. The Parish Office was expected to know the answer to everything. I remember one ‘phone call when a lady asked if I knew of any dog training classes. Well, yes I did, as I took my own dog to one so I gave her the details. Another satisfied customer!

“I have enjoyed every minute of those 30 years and I often said to people it was not a job but a way of life. It has been a huge honour to have served so many people for so many years.

“So now, retirement - and although Covid means some of my plans are on hold, there is plenty to do in the garden and that will certainly keep me busy. For health reasons I have been in the shielding group and have not been inside the Abbey since the first lockdown.

“I look forward to going back to that magnificent building where I have spent such a large part of my working life.”

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