Tribute paid to last vicar of Woodbury

PUBLISHED: 14:53 07 October 2008 | UPDATED: 09:45 10 June 2010

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 7: THE last vicar of Woodbury, loved for his warmth, jolliness, commitment and the 'indelible' mark he left on the village, has died. The Reverend Prebendary Peter McGee, the founder of the village's flower festival, lost his battle against a long illness a

THE last vicar of Woodbury, loved for his warmth, jolliness, commitment and the 'indelible' mark he left on the village, has died. The Reverend Prebendary Peter McGee, the founder of the village's flower festival, lost his battle against a long illness a day after his 72nd birthday. His last parish was Woodbury, from 1996 to 1997, but he was forced to retire because of ill health - the first time the parish had lost its vicar for more than 1,000 years.The village church was then taken in under the neighbouring Lympstone Parish, and his wife Jean said: "After serving in Ottery St Mary for 18 years, he asked the bishop if he could spend the last five years in Woodbury, knowing that the parish would get absorbed into Lympstone."Sadly, it didn't work out that way and he had to retire after just two years. He loved Woodbury - he was just sad he didn't stay there as long as he would have liked."Despite his relatively short tenure, he left an indelible mark: "It was the case wherever he went," said Jean."He started up the flower festival, which is still going to this day, and despite him being so ill he was determined not to retire until he saw it through. "He was a very pastoral priest, he loved to visit people and it didn't matter if they were church-goers or just people in the parish." On his retirement in 1997, Rev McGee left a lasting legacy in the town - he set up a women's social group called Connections, which he originally had formed in his previous parish in Ottery St Mary.He inspired the Ottery St Mary choir, and loved choral music, from sung parish Eucharists to choral evensongs.A funeral service in Ottery St Mary parish church will take place at 2.30pm, tomorrow, October 3, and will be followed by a private cremation.

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