Tributes paid to former long-serving Norwich vicar
A long-serving former vicar of a distinctive Norwich church, the Rev Keith Crocker, has died suddenly aged 68. Michael Pollitt pays tribute.
Keith had retired last year after 21 years as vicar of Christ Church, New Catton, having originally moved to Norfolk in 1984.
He had been team rector of the seven-strong Wreningham group of parishes and then took over at New Catton in February 1995 - following Rev Jack McGinley, who had also retired after 21 years.
Andrew Spooner, churchwarden, said that Christ Church had been fortunate to have been served by just two vicars in 42 years.
Keith Gwillam Crocker decided to take Holy Orders while working in Coventry. After four years in industry, he became a deacon in 1977 and was ordained a year later.
When Christ Church, the first to be built outside the northern parts of Norwich city wall for almost 500 years, faced a major restoration challenge, he responded with enthusiasm and drive.
He secured one of the largest grants to be made to a grade II listed church in the east of England in 2007. The £93,000 grant from English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund helped but as the restoration work started, it revealed the urgent need for even more repairs. In total, it cost £150,000 and the Rev Crocker led efforts to raise the balance from the parish and the community.
In his final year, he laid the foundations for the successful 175th anniversary celebrating the church’s foundation in 1841.
He also reflected that 2015 was most unusual; no weddings when normally there would have been five or six – but there had been 17 funerals.
Mr Crocker, who had studied at Lanchester Polytechnic, Coventry, and graduated in 1978, had met his wife-to-be at a nearby teacher training college. They married in 1971 and have three sons.
He leaves a widow, Linda, three sons, Luke, Nathan and Paul, and granddaughter, Hannah. He is survived by an older sister, Susan.
A service of thanksgiving will be held at Christ Church, New Catton, on Friday, December 1 at noon. It will be taken by the rural dean, Canon Simon Stokes, who was a curate at the church.
Pictured above is Rev Keith Crocker. Picture courtesy of Archant/Ian Burt.
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