The Rev. Frederick J. Lanham, Rector of St. James’ Quedgeley, 1947-1961, left to be Priest in charge of Christchurch Gloucester and the Rev. Paul M. Dack arrived from his Parish in the Cotswolds, to be our new Rector soon after.
Paul Dack had served in the Army and had been taken prisoner in Burma. He did not talk about his time there. I expect it was best forgotten. He did tell us, this was where he made up his mind to take up The Ministry, if he ever got home.
He first arrived one evening for dinner at our house, The Retreat Guest House, Quedgeley. I later took him to meet the St. James’ Parochial Church Council. He soon took up his position, bringing his widowed mother Florence and her sister Olive to live with him. They were all well received and soon settled in.
At that time, the Diocese had sold the nearby Head Master’s House (now The Quedgeley Parish Office) and also land opposite the Rectory, to build bungalows. Some of the money raised was used on the 1840 Rectory, which was badly in need of up-dating after WW1 and WW2. Paul organised the major works that went on for months and the family eventually had a modernised Rectory.
The Village Hall had been gutted by fire in 1957, leaving Quedgeley without a meeting place. When Paul arrived on the scene, he welcomed various groups to use the Rectory. Paul set about clearing and planting the large garden with trees and flowering bushes. In the summer-time we enjoyed Fetes and parties there. The Churchyard was also transformed, with curb stones removed and hedges sorted. He also gave the local youth club permission to use the Rectory Coach House for their meetings.
One of his first engagements was to attend the opening of the new Quedgeley Village Hall on February 17th, 1962. It was a great day, with the village pensioners invited to tea and the rest of the Parish invited to a Social Evening. As Rector, he was automatically made a Trustee of the building and carried out his duties with pride.
Mr Philip Parker of Quedgeley and I were both on the P.C.C. the 20 years Paul was Rector. Philip was also the organist at St. James’. Talking to Philip recently, he described Paul as a true gentleman, very knowledgeable, never a cross word and always willing to help people. I could not have put it better.
In 1982 the Diocese made it known they wanted to amalgamate the Church Parishes of Hardwicke and Quedgeley. They would sell Hardwicke Vicarage and Quedgeley Rectory and one Clergy would leave. Paul Dack being a Rector could stay where he was for life, but being a gentleman said he would leave to allow the joining of the Parishes. The two buildings were auctioned and my husband and I bought the Rectory and the Rev. Geoffrey Stickland moved into a new smaller Rectory, built on the site of Quedgeley’s first school in the kitchen garden of the former Rectory.
Paul went on to have many happy years working in and around Hasfield and Leckhampton and we kept in touch by letter.
I visited Paul at Nazareth House Nursing Home, Cheltenham just before his 88th birthday, which was on May 27th. He said he was enjoying life, with no washing or cooking to do and walked with me unaided inside the building. It was a shock to hear he had died there in August. Paul always stated he did not want a funeral and so a Requiem was held for him at St. Peter’s, Leckhampton on October 5th at 10.30a.m.