Page 6, 13th June 2008

13th June 2008
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Page 6, 13th June 2008 — LIVES REMEMBERED

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Fr William Howell was a priest of the Archdiocese of Southwark. Born on January 22, 1925 he died on May 23 aged 83.

A parish priest with an organisational knack who oversaw the building of two schools, Fr William Howell was born in Eclinkillie, Morayshire, Scotland on January 22, 1925. Fr Howell was one of a family of five. He had two brothers and two sisters, one of whom predeceased him.

The family moved to Dover in Kent and Fr Howell, who was known to his friends as Bill, was educated at St Joseph's College, Mark Cross and St. John's Seminary, Wonersh. He gained a BA degree while at Wonersh where he was ordained a priest on June 32, 1950 by Archbishop Cyril Cowderoy.

His first appointment was to the bomb-damaged Most Holy Trinity, Bermondsey. One year later he was appointed assistant priest at St Richard, Chichester, Sussex.

In 1952, he was appointed to St Joseph's College, Mark Cross where he taught Greek. Three years later he became a naval chaplain and was first based at Lossiemouth. At the end of his tour of duty he went to St Augustine's, Tunbridge Wells, as assistant priest in 1959.

Fr Howell was made, in 1964, parochial administrator. In 1967 he was appointed parish priest of St. Augustine's, Tunbridge Wells. In that year the old church in Hanover Road was closed and the site was sold to Tesco with provision made for Mass at the Sacred Heart School, Beechwood, and then in the hall above the newly built supermarket.

The present church was completed in October 1975. Fr Howell was also responsible for building St. Augustine's Primary School and St Gregory's Comprehensive School, Tunbridge Wells.

Fr Howell used his organisational skills, combined with a focused spiritual purpose, to enable the parish to grow. He set up the Soup Bowl to give to those in need food and later the Night Stop where they could have a bed for the night. St Augustine's was one of the first parishes to have a well developed RCIA.

When the Ministry of Priests was started in the diocese in 1985 Fr Howell was asked to be a team leader which he did until 1989. He also served on the Southwark Metropolitan Tribunal.

In February of 1995 Fr Howell was appointed to St Anne, Cliftonville, Kent.

However, before he could take up the appointment he had a slight stroke. In spite of this health problem he took up his duties in a new parish which he endeavoured to fulfil until his retirement in 1997.

He moved to his sister's home in Downham Market but moved, to the Mount Nursing Home, Ttmbridge Wells. He went to live in the Bethany Nursing Home, Tunbridge Wells and then for a short time at Ashhurst Park Care Centre before going to St George's Retreat Burgess Hill in 2003.

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