Terry Gibson – Obituary

Terry Gibson (BGS 1948–56)

The Venerable Terence Allen Gibson, former Archdeacon of Ipswich, died in September 2015 aged 77. Born in Boston in 1937 he attended Boston Grammar School from 1948 to 1956 becoming Head Prefect and was awarded a State Scholarship. He served his National Service as a radar fitter in the RAF from 1956 to 1958 before continuing his education at Jesus College Cambridge from 1958 to 1961 achieving a triple first in natural science and theology. He subsequently prepared for the ministry at Cuddesdon College, near Oxford, and was ordained in Liverpool in 1963.

Terry was appointed Assistant Curate at St Chad’s in Kirkby near Liverpool in 1963 and in 1966 took up the position of Warden at the Church of England youth centre – Centre 63. He became Team Vicar in Kirkby in 1972, and was later appointed Rector of Kirkby in 1975 and Rural Dean of Walton in 1979. Terry moved to Suffolk in 1984 accepting to take up the position of Archdeacon of Suffolk, and was installed as Archdeacon of Ipswich in 1987. He retired in 2005 and was appointed Archdeacon Emeritus. In his retirement he continued to be active, taking services at the Bishop’s chapel and in parishes throughout the diocese almost every week.

Terry’s interest in youth work pre-dated his work at Centre 63. He joined the Boy Scout movement and the 5th Boston Scout troop at the age of 11 and grew to hold a warrant as Assistant Scout Master by the age of 18. As Scout Master he led troops in Boston, and Cuddesdon before starting a Scout troop in Kirkby in 1964.

In the early days of his ministry in the new town of Kirkby near Liverpool, half the population were under 21 and the birth rate was six times the national average; both the crime rate and unemployment rates were probably not far behind. Centre 63 had a constant membership of over 1,000 young people whom it helped to work out their own needs and to meet them. Open every day of the year from early morning until late evening this was a full-time job. Later as Rector of Kirkby, Terry led a team of 13 clergy and full time workers in what was the largest team ministry in the UK at the time. On his appointment as Archdeacon of Suffolk and later Ipswich he might have found rural Suffolk quiet by comparison, but he was responsible for 135 and later 290 parishes in the county and was soon preoccupied by the challenges this presented; he told amusing stories of dealing with awkward vicars and churchwardens at war.

Terry opened his address as guest speaker to the Old Bostonian Association annual dinner in 2006 with the following words: “I guess that one thing we all have in common is that we look back with affection and gratitude to all at this school who influenced our lives for good, and who did so much to help us to set the standards by which we have lived since we were pupils here.” These words eloquently communicate the importance to him of his time at the school. He will be missed by his sister Hazel and brothers Roger and Peter (both BGS old boys).

by Peter Gibson (BGS 1959-65)

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