Wally Huckle - retiring Commercial Chaplain

This collection of tributes represents how we have come to appreciate the great contribution Wally has made to the wider mission of the church in the city and his influence within the congregation of St Peter's.

From the Chaplaincy Council

Revd. Wally HuckleIt has been a real pleasure for me to be associated with Wally’s City Centre ministry as a member of the Commercial Chaplain’s Council for most of the three years since my return to Nottingham.

During the course of my business career I have known a number of Chaplains and have welcomed and appreciated the role they have played in a work place environment, but unfortunately never with Wally himself - a pity; I just know it would have been a great experience.

I have, however, been made well aware of his many qualities. I have received glowing testimonies from various sources and can well understand why he is so much admired and respected. And also why he is held in such affection by so many who will miss his regular visits, his personal warmth, his down to earth common sense approach and the ready support he is always prepared to provide.

May he be richly blessed and enjoy a well-earned happy and relaxing retirement with Jan, family and friends, and hopefully with his operations finally behind him be free from the almost constant pain which he has born so stoically over recent years.

Charles Myers, Chaplaincy Council

Having worked closely with Wally for the past eleven to twelve years I cannot help but be struck by his quiet compassionate presence. This presence is in no small measure due to his size and bearing, enhanced by a genuine gift to be able to listen and communicate and an unswerving faith, although strongly Evangelical in essence, it is neither bigoted nor dominant, but gentle and persuasive.

His mission to Commerce within the City has been a great success as it has involved breaking new ground and interfacing with the cynical congregation of businesses within it. None the less, many of its middle and higher management are more content as a result of having met Wally than they were before and the companies to whom they belong are better as a consequence.

For some time now he has been dealing with ailing health with a quiet dignity in keeping with his character, however in spite of this apparent quietness, like many of us, he at times takes on the character of the proverbial duck, calm on the surface but paddling furiously beneath.

Wally leaves the Chaplaincy in good shape, a client list of some twenty or so organisations and a sound financial basis with a substantial carried forward reserve. He will be a hard act to follow and genuinely missed by many.

We wish him a long, contented and fulfilled retirement. Well done Wally.

Ossie Newell, Chaplaincy Council (retired)

From a City Office

Wally Huckle has worked with FreethCartwright for many years, during which he has seen the firm grow from approximately one hundred people to four hundred today. Despite the huge increase in our numbers, Wally still seems to know everyone by name!

Whilst we were initially a little nervous at the prospect of introducing a ‘religious’ element into our working lives, Wally soon overcame our reluctance and was able to reassure us that we were dealing with a warm and friendly person who merely used his Christian beliefs as a platform for a human and sympathetic approach to supporting and helping people.

Over the years many of our staff have had the benefit of Wally’s readiness to listen to their interests and concerns, whether these were at high points or low points in their lives, and whether sharing significant and important events or those of a mundane day to day nature.

Wally has, quite simply, become ‘part of the family’ and has been an important member of our team. We shall miss him.

Colin Flanagan, Chief Executive FreethCartwright

From a City Store

Wally at work in Marks & Spencers storeWally Huckle has been a frequent and regular visitor to Marks & Spencer Nottingham over the years. He has seen many changes in both staff and our store over these years. His regular visits became part of our store life and his support will be missed by many people.

I would like to say a big ‘thank you’ to Wally for his support over the years and wish him a long, happy and healthy retirement.

Marjorie Bull, Store Secretary Marks & Spencers

From a Government Department

He was a friendly face who would appear around a cupboard and provide a moment of calm in the otherwise hectic whirl of Human Resources Division. Wally is an extremely good listener and, when it was needed, would give much appreciated help to colleagues in a quiet and supportive way away from the office. We shall very much miss him.

Brian Goldie, Inland Revenue

From a member of the congregation

When contemplating on “What Wally means to me” all I could think of was “Thank God for Wally”.

In 1994, as a Scottish Presbyterian non-Christian who knew that ‘something was there’ but thought little about it, I was given visions while attending ‘inner journey’ workshops. I had no idea what they meant except that the face of Christ was clearly visible. I knew Jesus Christ was guiding me… I had seen the light… what could I do about it? I didn’t know any minister well enough to talk to and my friends thought I had gone ‘doolally’.

Wally swilling a little beer with his colleaguesThen I thought of Wally. Wally, the fun loving, beer-swilling cricketer whom I’ve known for over thirty years and who had amazed us by becoming the Revd. Wally Huckle. I reckoned if Wally had been called by God then there must be ‘something to it’. I phoned him in some embarrassment and said ‘I think I’ve seen the light - can you help me!!’ That was all that was needed. Wally gently guided my first faltering footsteps to my becoming a Christian and introduced me into the family of St Peter’s where I immediately felt at home, albeit still very confused. We had lots of discussions and arguments because my logical and sometimes negative thinking would not accept what is. He advised me on which Bible passages to read and various books which greatly helped me to wake up and open my eyes. I was dreadfully serious about it all in the beginning and Wally helped me to lighten up and showed me that God does have a sense of humour! He is also one of several who helped me to come to terms with my divorce. I could go on and on but this is not about sainthood!! Suffice it to say he continues to guide my often wayward thinking. Wally remains the fun loving, now wine-swilling (in moderation!) man that he always was and God certainly knew what He was doing when He called on him. I just hope that in retirement Wally will sometimes have time to ‘fill in’ at St. Peter’s so that we are not totally bereft of his warm sonorous tones and lovely singing voice at the Eucharist. (Aren’t we lucky that all our ministers at St Peter’s can also sing!)

Thank you Wally for being there. Your retirement will affect many of us in lots of different ways and not only those of us at St Peter’s. May you have more time for yourself and enjoy a well earned rest (with two knees now able to support you).

Love and happiness to you Wally, yours in Christ,

Liz Alexander

From the Church Office

I shall miss Wally and remember him for all sorts of reasons, not least for his passions - for cricket, for trains, for computers, for jokes, but mostly for his passion for God - He and Wally make a great team.

Some years ago I ‘shadowed’ Wally as he went around M&S on a typical chaplain day - I felt I was in the presence of royalty! Members of staff kept coming up for a chat (and Wally knew everyone by name), others would wave across the store. Talk about basking in reflected glory - it made me feel special just being with him! Work seemed to stop whilst he was around - in the nicest possible way, of course (lest any M&S executive should think Wally was a bad influence!)

It has been a real privilege working in the Church Office during Wally’s time at St Peter’s. Lots of love and laughter (and work!). I just want to wish Wally (and Jan) a happy future - is there life outside St Peter’s? (there must be - Leslie assures us that there is!) God bless, and thanks.


From a colleague

I came to St Peter’s for an interview in late 1991, accompanied by Jim. We spent a happy half hour having coffee with Wally in his office while waiting for the ‘panel’ to organise themselves. During that time we discovered that Wally knew many former colleagues of Jim’s from his time at Northern Foods in Hull, and that he knew people and places familiar to us in the Wharfedale area, from his hockey playing days.

During the last eight years I have continued to marvel at Wally’s fund of knowledge about people. He knows everyone in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, through his business life, through his cricket and trains and hockey connections, from his wide circle of Christian acquaintances of all denominations, from a social life acquired through living sixty years in the county. Wally is totally a ‘people’ person, making friends and keeping friends at every stage of his life.

As a ‘foreigner’ he has tutored me in local knowledge, and nagged me into buying the Evening Post as the source of all information on happenings in Nottingham. I am very grateful for all this background detail, the fund of stories and the fascinating gossip! But I am most grateful for the warmth of Wally’s friendship and utterly solid support; for the common-sense wisdom of his spiritual insights coming from a very different tradition and experience than my own; for being able to share in leading worship with him which he does so naturally and calmly; for his depth of faith which is so challenging to us all.

Eileen McLean

Wally replies

It seems strange to receive a send-off and then not to go anywhere, and some have accused me of arranging my early retirement just to receive the presents and the plaudits! But Jan & I are not going anywhere because, as I said in those few ill-conceived and halting words at the end of the 10.45am service on August 20th, we have been “St Petered”. We are not going anywhere because we have come to love St Peter’s and its worship, and mostly because of you all who have made us feel so very much at home.

The presentations made to us on August 20th were both very generous and so very appropriate. Firstly for remembering Jan by the gift of flowers, for without her constant support and encouragement and above all her faith, I could never have hoped to exercise a ministry in St Peter’s and to the world of work outside. Secondly we thank you for the generous cheque which will help us to purchase something that we can both enjoy, probably some garden furniture. And finally we were delighted to be given the marvellous framed print of the South Prospect of Nottingham in 1743, which shows the city skyline clearly and the three churches, with St. Peter’s (quite correctly) at the centre! The generous comments made by Mike Buckley of Pork Farms on behalf of the clients of the chaplaincy, and by Peter Hoare on behalf of the membership of St Peter’s, were most kind.

But the contents of the September magazine (see above) came as a complete surprise to me. The many tributes made to me both as commercial chaplain and as a member of the St Peter’s team were quite overwhelming. I’m not sure I deserve all of this, but naturally my heart has been very much warmed by the expressions of love and support I have received. Many of you have kindly sent get-well cards following my operation, and I have also received many cards wishing me well on my retirement as well as some lovely letters of appreciation which I have treasured. I promise to try to thank you all in person, but forgive me if there are any omissions - rest assured that your kindness in writing has touched me deeply. It is important to me, and I believe to St Peter’s, that the work of the chaplaincy should continue, and therefore I was especially delighted to note the strong affirmation of this expressed by Andrew in the Rector’s letter in the September magazine, setting the chaplaincy in the context of the ministry of St Peter’s as a whole.

Finally, I would like to make amends for the omissions I made in my few words of thanks on August 20th. Of course, I could not mention everyone by name, but I had meant publicly to thank Jan and our family (how good of Mike and Lizzie to make long journeys to be at that last service, just as they were at the first). I had also meant to thank Angela (in-the-office) for putting up with me on a daily basis for so long, and I certainly meant to mention the others who are invariably in and around the church, Joyce, Trevor and David, for their continual support. And especially I wished to thank my ministry colleagues: Leslie, for teaching me all I know; Andrew, who in a brief association has made me regret not being able to continue to work with him; and finally Eileen, who has always supported me and affirmed the work to which I have been called. St Peter’s continues in very safe hands, I shall watch with interest from the pews as the future enfolds. God bless you all


© St Peter's Church, Nottingham
Last revised 2nd October 2000