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St George’s News - Waterlooville’s Parish Magazine

The Website for St George’s Church, Waterlooville and its Parish Magazine St George’s News

Autumn 2022 issue

Norman Linney (1929-2022)

This is the Eulogy given by Fr Colin, at the service of thanksgiving which took place at St George’s on Wednesday 28th September.

I have a very good friend who is constantly losing things, or rather, misplacing them, or putting them somewhere safe, so safe that she can’t remember where. And on such occasions she will pray to St Anthony of Padua, who is the patron saint of lost things:

‘Dear St Anthony, pray come around, something is lost and cannot be found.’

When we lose something it often assumes an exaggerated value. It seems almost as though the lost item is more important than anything else that we possess. Jesus told a number of parables about lost things: a lost sheep, a lost coin and so on.

When we lose something we can sometimes behave as though nothing else matters.

How much truer this is when it is not an object that is lost, but a person, and when that loss is seemingly irretrievable, as it appears to be in death.

The Christian faith, which Norman faithfully professed, teaches that death is not an irretrievable loss, but a new phase of life, as we journey to the God who created us, loves us, sustains us, and calls us home.

That is what the Gospel reading [John 14:1-6] that we have just heard Helen read is all about. It is a beautiful piece of teaching on the resurrection, that Jesus gives to his disciples, and to us.

And hopefully faith in the resurrection will comfort and sustain Audrey, the wider family of Norman, his friends, and all who mourn his death.

Norman lived a very long, very full and very interesting life. He was born at Parkhurst  on the Isle of Wight and, along with his older sister, Olive, spent the early part of his childhood on the Island. Sadly, Olive is unable to be with us this afternoon because of ill health, but I am sure she is with us in spirit, and in our prayers.

Norman was a choirboy at Newport Church, and attended Newport Grammar School.

His father was a prison officer and when he was transferred to a prison in Manchester, the family moved with him. And so Norman finished his education at Manchester Grammar School. Whilst in Manchester Norman developed a love of cycling, which continued after the family moved to Portsmouth, and for many years after.

He served with the British Army for his National Service, spending time in Malaya and Singapore.

Back in Portsmouth Norman worked for some time in the building trade.

He also developed a love of old-time dancing, and qualified as a dancing teacher. And it was at a dance club that he ran at Lee on the Solent that Norman met Audrey in 1956. They married in 1958 and settled first in Portsmouth and then, in 1968, in Waterlooville.

Whilst working in design and display for a shoe company based in Leicester, Norman was headhunted for a position in Iran, and he and Audrey moved there at the end of 1971.

Norman loved driving, and travel in general, and his work took him the length and breadth of Iran, from the mountains of the North to the deserts of the South. He loved walking in the mountains around Tehran, where he and Audrey lived. He also learnt to fly a glider!

Unfortunately, Norman was involved in a near fatal road accident at the beginning of 1978, and was only given a 2% chance of survival. After 3 months in an Iranian hospital, and a further 3 months of treatment, Norman and Audrey returned home to Waterlooville in July 1978 – just before the Iranian Revolution instigated by Ayatollah Khomeini.

Norman still needed further, long-term treatment, and was unable to work for some time. He eventually bought a hardware business in Hambledon Road, which he ran until a major hardware and building company arrived in Waterlooville.

Norman, on his appointment as Church Warden

Norman, enjoying his favourite lunch, a Cheese Roll

Formal Night, Norman and Audrey, on the Queen Mary II

Norman and Audrey started worshipping here at St George’s in late 1978, Norman was confirmed at St George’s in 1980. He became very active in the life of the church, serving as Church Warden, and as a server and head server. He and Tony Rice-Oxley were among the first St George’s servers to join the Guild of Servers, attending the local branch meetings and visiting other groups. On one occasion Norman did a sponsored cycle ride to four churches: St Matthew’s, St Mark’s, St Luke’s and St John’s; to raise money to purchase the white albs, some of which are still in use today. On another occasion he pushed an elderly woman in a wheel chair from Portsmouth to Southampton, to raise money for the Children’s Society.

He loved driving, and was a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists. He continued to love walking and travel, until his failing eyesight made this difficult. He was a very practical man, who turned his hand at many things, and was instrumental in several additions to this church.

These are just a few reflections on a long life, well lived. Doubtless all of you here present will have your own very particular memories of Norman that you will treasure in your hearts.

Norman is not lost. Neither are any of our loved ones who followed Christ. We have his word for it. The Christ who has prepared a dwelling place for Norman and, God willing, for us. So that when we enter into the fullness of eternal life, the pain of loss will be transformed into the joy of reconciliation.

May he rest in peace and rise in glory.


With Norman having been a former Head Server, our Servers team were out in force

The spread of food organised for after the
Thanksgiving service