From the Very Revd Keith Johnson  Everyone in Balsham, West Wickham, West Wratting and Weston Colville will be sad to hear that Canon Francis Woolley died on Tuesday 12th February in Sobell House, Churchill Hospital, Oxford. He had been in Sobell House for several days, receiving wonderful care from the nurses and with his family with him night and day. It was the end of over ten years of a long fight with cancer, with several stays in hospital and major surgery. In all those years Francis served the people of Balsham and the local villages as Rector until he retired due to ill health in 2010. He was unfailingly positive and he coped with his symptoms with good humour and great courage. His beloved dog Cholmondeley used to ‘write’ the monthly letters in the Balsham Review, referring to Francis as HWTHMBO (He who thinks he must be obeyed). Francis’ humour also appeared in the minutes of the chapter meetings of the local clergy, as he was our Chapter Clerk, and he was a feature of the Ely Diocesan Clergy Conferences, poking gentle fun at the Church of England. He was also Diocesan Advisor for church organs and church lighting. The latter skill came from his years as a lighting director for theatres and for touring companies, before he was called to the priesthood.
Please remember Francis’ family and friends and give thanks for his long service to the church he loved, as a wise and thoughtful parish priest, especially to the people of our villages. There is going to be a lot of laughter in heaven. Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.