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'There are not enough people like dad in the world' - we remember Bishop Alan

Family, friends, colleagues and parishioners from across the Diocese of Oxford gathered in High Wycombe to remember the Rt Revd Dr Alan Wilson on Saturday. His memorial service was held at All Saints church in the town where more than 300 people attended in remembrance of the Bishop of Buckingham.

They were joined by local dignitaries including the Lord Lieutenant Countess Howe, local MPs, as well as the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, the Bishop of Reading, the Rt Revd Olivia Graham, the Bishop of Dorchester, the Rt Revd Gavin Collins and members of the Buckinghamshire Area team including Archdeacon of Buckingham, the Ven Guy Elsmore and the Bishop of Buckingham’s Chaplain, the Revd Canon Rosie Harper.

Bishop Alan died suddenly at his home in Great Missenden in February. He had been preparing to go on sabbatical as he looked forward to retirement in the next year. Bishop Alan served as Bishop of Buckingham for over 20 years. His entire ordained ministry was within the Diocese of Oxford as a curate in Eynsham, Vicar in Caversham and Sandhurst, Area Dean in Sonning and then Bishop of Buckingham.

Bishop Steven, who gave the homily, said: “It was very good to gather with so many from across Buckinghamshire and beyond to give thanks for Bishop Alan’s life and to celebrate his ministry. There are many memories to treasure: his gift of stability in ministering in a single place and diocese for so long; his sense of justice for oppressed individuals; his humility; his vision for education and good schools; his sharp wit and his dogged determination.”

Speakers represented many areas of Bishop Alan’s ministry. The Ven Guy Elsmore spoke about Alan as a pastor to the clergy, remembered ‘a man of faith and commitment, who was committed to the marginalised and the vulnerable’.

Diocesan Director of Education Tony Wilson shared his memories of Alan as a leader in education, calling him an ‘education nut’ adding there were hundreds of thousands of children, parents, teachers and leaders who would be grateful for the legacy he leaves.

Bishop Alan’s son Nick recalled his ‘hearty and full-bodied laugh’ which he missed every day. He said: “There are not enough people like dad in the world and that makes the lack of him hurt a little bit more.” The congregation launched into spontaneous applause at the end of Nick’s words.

Many of the survivors who Bishop Alan advocated for throughout his ministry also attended to pay their respects.

Alan’s family has set up a fund for donations in his memory. These will be divided between One Body One Faith and MACSAS (Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors).

About Bishop Alan

Bishop Alan trained for ordination at Wycliffe Hall (Cert. Theol. 1979). He was ordained deacon (1979 at St Peter’s, Didcot), priest (1980 at Christ Church, Oxford), and bishop (2003 at Westminster Abbey).

Alan has served in the Diocese of Oxford since 1979, at Balliol College from 1979-81 and non-stipendiary minister at Eynsham, then as curate of Caversham and Mapledurham (1982-89), and first incumbent of St John the Baptist, Caversham, from 1989-92. Moving to Sandhurst as rector in 1992, he contributed to continuing ministerial education by developing residential training workshops in supervision skills for training incumbents, and as a diocesan work consultant.

He led the planning group for the Diocesan Convention at High Wycombe in 2002. He was area dean of Sonning from 1998-2003 and honorary Canon of Christ Church, Oxford, from 2002-3. In October 2003, he became Area Bishop of Buckingham.

Bishop Alan was also Chair of the Oxford Diocesan Board of Education.

Bishop Alan is survived by his wife Lucy, and five adult children Catherine, Stephanie, Stewart, Nick and Anna.

The service can be viewed online on the Diocese of Oxford YouTube channel.

See a gallery of photos from the memorial service on our Facebook page.


Notes to Editor

For media enquiries and high-res photos, please contact Rebekah Sharrock on 07880 716761.

About the Diocese of Oxford  

The Diocese of Oxford is the Church of England in the Thames Valley region of Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. There are over 800 churches in 626 parishes, the largest number of churches of any diocese in the Church of England. The diocese is also home to 285 schools and academies educating some 60,000 pupils.   


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