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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

Lent and Easter 2021 issue

Fr Arthur Green, 1927-2020

He passed the exam for the Southern Secondary school. With the war, the entire school was evacuated to Brockenhurst, where his mother, grandmother and great-aunt then lodged. We regularly visited families there and we never did find the tin of foreign coins he buried under a row of pine trees. He had many amusing stories to tell; many now recorded as local oral history.

Returning to Portsmouth in 1942, and the need to either stay in education or find employment, he passed the Naval artificer exam, but failed the medical. He became an ‘apprentice fitter’ at Portsmouth Dockyard attending courses at Portsmouth Technical College.

On completion of his apprenticeship, he sat the London County Council entrance exam coming 4th out of some four thousand applicants. He then lodged with a family in Clapham and around this time met my mother and they married in 1951 moving to Wandsworth. I suspect my mother’s non-conformist parents wondered about a future son-in-law from a military Anglo-Catholic family; with his wicked sense of humour.

As part of Arthur’s work in local government, savings were required. He very nearly caused a strike of all the London firemen. He replaced their expensive boot polish with a cheaper product. He had tested all the rival products on shoes at home. To quell the possible strike, he had one of the brigades, in their station, use the polish under his supervision. A shine took a bit longer, so, no last-minute polishing before inspections thereafter!

At home, he spent time renovating our early Victorian house and was heavily involved in church activities with my mother. He was a server and he would take me to early morning services to be parked in the pulpit, invisible to the congregation.

Unbeknown to us children he determined to follow his calling and was accepted for Chichester Theological College after completing ‘0’ and ‘A’ levels by studying behind a locked lounge door, away from us children.

We all moved to Chichester and onwards to New Maldon and Caterham; then parishes in Norfolk with huge rambling vicarages, not great to heat, but with acres of garden. Wonderful for teenage children playing cricket with dad on the vicarage lawn and opportunities to build tree houses. Dad in all his work was supported by my mother Vera. Their first summer fete in Briston got some dark mutterings when Arthur won the bowling for the pig with the cash prize donated to the church restoration fund and mum winning the darts! It was not all plain sailing, with many rural churches not prepared for any change to liturgy or worship. PCC meetings could be rowdy and lengthy keeping us children upstairs awake. There was always the fund raising for medieval churches and Arthur certainly had a knack of recruiting just the right volunteers to help, by always immersing himself in what-ever practical tasks were needed, with his charismatic humour and encouragement.

In retirement, with Vera somewhat incapacitated, a bungalow was the ideal option and after several Hampshire holidays based with us in Southampton, they chose one at Waterlooville. For many years he took services in parishes in Portsmouth Diocese where there were vacancies and for some ten years, they had happy times together making new friends, adding to over 200 that they received and returned Christmas cards to. With Arthur’s development of angina, he was no longer able to be Vera’s carer and she was accommodated in the Home of Comfort where she died in 2004. Dad became a charity trustee of the home and it is also where he spent his last few weeks.

He clearly enjoyed living in Southsea, joining numerous organisations; such that we had to find out when his diary was free, so we could visit him. He delighted in visiting old school friends and cousins, going to concerts, the theatre and engaging in church life. Arthur always made light of any adversity such as the loss of Vera and my brother and other tragic family events. He had a strength that came from his pragmatic approach to life and in particular his strong Christian faith. Past parishioners have commented that for them, he was a very special parish priest.

As a family we would like to thank all the health workers, the staff of the Home of Comfort and all his friends and family for their recent kind words. I must single out Jean Theobald, us children knew her as Aunty Jean; who with dad spent many happy hours together, sharing evening meals and holidays. Jean’s support as Arthur began to decline was a comforting support for us.

Arthur will be sadly missed by many and his help for others is demonstrated by offering his body for transplants, that could not unfortunately take place.

We therefore give thanks to God for his life, his work and in particular his steadfast faith which was his support at all times.

Donations in memory of Arthur are to benefit Christian Aid and can be made online at arthur-edward-green.muchloved.com

Or by cheque made payable to Christian Aid
c/o Nigel Chamberlain & Partners
The Gate House Victoria Road Bishop’s Waltham SO32 1DJ

During the time he lived in Waterlooville as a retired priest with his wife Vera, Fr Arthur Green officiated at many services, especially during the Interregnum between Fr Malcolm Ferrier and Fr Mike Sheffield. He moved to Southsea in 2002, but continued to be seen as a regular guest at St George’s annual Parish Lunch. Below is the Tribute read by his son Francis at the funeral, which took place at Portchester Crematorium on Tuesday 26th January.

My father who was nearly 94 was born in Portsmouth at the Royal Naval Maternity Hospital. Arthur’s father was a regular in the Royal Marines and spent long periods serving abroad and was posted to Fair Isle in the Second World War. Dad was an only child with an extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins and the family home included his aunt and grandmother. He was a choir-boy and server at St Cuthbert’s, Copnor and belonged to many local organisations.

Aside from city and domestic life he was fortunate that family friends had moved to Ashurst in the New Forest. He and his mother would regularly take the train and would engage in country-side activities, feeding the hens, picking apples at harvest and much more.