Network Norwich and Norfolk > People > Obituaries > Billy Graham preached to Queen and at Carrow Road

BillyGrahamCarrowRoad750Billy Graham preached to Queen and at Carrow Road 

The world’s best-known evangelist, Billy Graham, preached to the Queen at Sandringham and 63,000 people at Carrow Road in Norwich in 1984, sparking the start of thousands of people’s Christian commitment across Norfolk.

Billy, who died yesterday at the age of 99, preached to an incredible 215 million people in crusades around the world.

Born in 1918 in North Carolina, Billy became a committed Christian at the age of 16 after hearing a travelling evangelist. He was ordained a minister in 1939, aged 21.

Throughout his life, Billy preached the gospel of Jesus Christ at more than 400 evangelistic rallies in over 185 countries and territories. He reached millions more through TV, video, film, the internet and 34 books.

BillyGrahamQueenElizabethIt was as part of the major three-month Mission England crusade that the well-known American preacher came to Norwich. He spoke at six football stadiums across the country, including Carrow Road from June 9 to 12, 1984.
The visit was the culmination of a year of planning, and brought together the Christian community of Norfolk on what seemed like an unprecedented scale.

850 churches were involved, raising the £175,000 cost and providing 4,500 volunteers including 1,456 counsellors and a 1,745-strong choir plus administrators, youth leaders and stewards.
Christians across the county were encouraged to form prayer triplets during the preceding months, and then to each bring a non-Christian to the meeting. Local churches were invited to join together to form a massed choir at each venue, and churches from all over Norfolk came together to sing at the Norwich meetings.

Maggie Rothe from Sheringham Baptist Church said, “There were four meetings on consecutive days at Carrow Road, and the atmosphere at those meetings was incredible. Billy spoke powerfully and passionately but calmly and without hype, and each meeting culminated with a surge of people moving forward, accepting his invitation to accept Jesus, but they were not allowed onto the pitch as the turf had been newly laid! The sense of unity between all the different churches was really wonderful, and it was great to see so many local Christians getting involved with the mission, whether it was singing, stewarding, or just bringing their friends to the mission. A truly memorable week.”  

Wendy Barnes, a member of Norwich Central Baptist Church sang in the choir at Carrow Road in 1984. She was also a steward at a big evangelical conference in Amsterdam and shook Billy Graham’s hand. She said, “He was the most loving, gracious, gentle man. You couldn’t help but love him.” Over 3,700 people responded to Billy’s message in Norwich. Wendy said, “His word was so simple, it was just so ordinary but people stood up and came out. It was amazing.”

In 2009 there was a service at Norwich Anglican Cathedral marking 25 years since the historic visit, read about it here.

While Billy Graham’s primary focus was to take this message to the world, he also provided spiritual counsel to presidents and even preached to the Queen at Sandringham during his 1984 visit to Norfolk.
Pictured top is Billy Graham preaching at Carrow Road in Norwich, above with Queen Elizabeth and below with Dr Peter English, chairman of Mission England in East Anglia overlooking Norwich city centre back 1984. 

You can read more tributes to Billy here

Read our previous stories about Billy Graham in Norfolk


Please add your tributes and memories of Billy Graham below.

Eileen Templeman (Guest) 22/02/2018 18:27
Billy Graham explained so simply why Jesus left heaven to come to Earth, to die for my sins and give me the opportunity of eternal life. I had been to Sunday School, passed little annual exams and got a sticker in my Bible, but till I heard him preach at Norwich Cattle market (which was relayed from London) I never understood that I needed Him as my Saviour, and needed to repent of my sins. I attended the 3 nights and was choked each of the first 2 nights, but knew I had to make a decision on the last night, there was a battle going on in my legs, a force to keep me down and a force to push me up, but the force to push me up won, and I went down the front and prayed the Sinner´s Prayer, and cried for 45 minutes. I praise God for Billy Graham, I never miss the opportunity to say that he led me to the Lord. My sister listened to him in London and she said, you must go along and listen to this man..I did, and it changed my life and my destiny. No doubt heaven has welcomed him with an enormous ovation..he certainly is a loss to the world, but a greatly blessed man. Eternally grateful, Eileen Templeman.
Linda Holland (Guest) 23/02/2018 19:21
I can't remember anything of what Billy said when I went forward at his Earl's Court crusade in 1966 but I do know that I felt compelled to respond and there is nothing to compare to the joy of coming to our Saviour. Since that time the joy has only deepened with the ever increasing knowledge of how wonderful He is and His salvation. I too am eternally indebted to Billy's amazing ministry.
Mike Wiltshire (Guest) 24/02/2018 14:34
As an 18-year-old student, I was invited to hear Billy Graham - and to my own amazement went forward to make a commitment to Jesus Christ. A life-changing moment! Little did I realize then that it would take me to 50 countries in evangelism . . . we saw millions reached with Christian literature. But that's another story. I heaven we will discover the story of how far Billy's life impacted our generation. Billy was an incredibly hunble man - he once asked a minister friend of mine: "Do you think the people will come to the meetings?" Of course, they did come in their thousands. When Billy prayed with friends, his prayers were almost child-like in their simplicity, but all the more real for that. Today I am also recalling that the late John Pollock, Billy's officially biographer, and a wonderful writer, once sent me his personal notes on how to write a good Christian biography . . . a huge blessing as I have gone on to write about Christian lives for the past 50 years. In closing, can I say that Billy was an amazing man of God, and we thank God for raising him up.

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