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News > Archive News > Obituaries > Reverend Canon Michael Hodge (St 47-52)

Reverend Canon Michael Hodge (St 47-52)

22 Feb 2022
Written by Tracey Ahmet

Michael Hodge, who died on February 22, 2022 came to Rugby in 1947. There he played hockey but fared less well at history. In contrast to achieving 100% in maths O-level, he was proud that he doubled his 16% ‘mock‘ history result to a more credible 32% in the real exam.

After Rugby, Michael studied mathematics at Pembroke College, Cambridge and then went to Ridley Hall to study for the church. He then had a brief period working for Tube Investments before being ordained.

In September 1967, Michael pulled up, leg wrapped in plaster, in a shabby Bedford van in Battle Street, Gravesend accompanied by a woman in her 30s holding a new-born baby.

This ‘Charabanc vision’ announced the arrival of the new vicar – Michael and his wife Margaret. A few days later they were joined by Andrew’s elder sisters Patricia and Rachel and in January 1969 Susan Margaret completed the family.

Michael served in the parishes of Cobham and Luddesdowne until 1981 and became known by many as he regularly visited each home in the parish. He loved working with children and young people. His van took many teenagers out to Swanley swimming baths, Gillingham ice skating rink and countless other places first as ‘Oasis’ & later under other youth group titles. When not out and about these teenagers met at the vicarage for lively discussions and Bible studies which led many to a personal faith in Jesus.

On the first Sunday of each month, Michael led the Family Service where children sat on hassocks and were treated to illustrated talks. For the rest of the month Sunday School groups met throughout Sole Street & Michael, with his melodica, travelled to each group, leading the singing of action including his favourite, ‘The Butterfly Song’. Songs and talks also featured at Cobham CE School where he took assemblies.

Cobham and Luddesdowne churches were always popular places for weddings. Michael conducted many, along with baptisms and funerals.

He was also involved in Synod at local, diocesan and national level and served on General Synod for many years.

In 1981 Michael moved to Bidborough near Tunbridge Wells, a smaller parish, from when he then retired to the Isle of Wight, although continuing to lead services until he was 85.

His passion for working with children continued and he was an active member of Yarmouth’s Messy Church team until the group closed not long before lockdown.

In later years Michael became ‘wobbly’, first of body and finally of mind. He retained throughout his deep personal relationship with Jesus, his deep and thoughtful prayer life, his sense of humour and true humbleness. His carers all loved him.

He died as he had hoped – by falling asleep and not waking up.

‘Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord’. Matthew 25:21

Adapted from a contribution by Rachel Fleetwood, daughter.

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