Former chaplain’s legacy will comfort patients


PATIENTS in Bognor Regis’ hospital will benefit from the legacy of a former chaplain.

A ciborium for the war memorial hospital in memory of the Rev Geoffrey Tooley has been dedicated during a Holy Communion.

The sacred vessel will hold the bread for Holy Communion services at the bedside of patients too ill to attend St George’s Chapel in the hospital.

The service of dedication was led by the Rev Graham Reeves. He told the 20 worshippers who filled the chapel the ciborium was the perfect way to remember Mr Tooley.

“It will be a constant reminder to us of his ministry. It is fitting we remember Geoffrey through the sacred object of the ciborium...because it will offer comfort and hope to those physically unable to attend this chapel.

“But it is also a permanent reminder in this chapel that Christ is in our midst.”

Mr Tooley died earlier this year aged 87. He had been among the hospital’s chaplains for 18 years and the vicar of Holy Cross Church in North Bersted. He retired in 1997.

His wife of 56 years, Eileen Tooley, and two sons, Jeremy and Simon, were among those present at the service.

Jeremy said: “Dad was always full of stories and dedicated to his chosen profession.

“My earliest memories are of him leaving home at 7.15am on Sundays to cycle to the hospital from North Bersted for Holy Communion and then cycling back again for the service at the church.

“A lot of people remember my dad and, mostly, that’s because he cycled everywhere.”

The ciborium was bought by the hospital’s Friends from donations in Mr Tooley’s memory.

Brian Knight, the Friends’ chairman, said: “A collection was made by Mr Tooley’s family and given to the Friends. We asked the hospital what was needed and the answer was a ciborium.”

He put its total cost and the engraving in memory of Mr Tooley at £275.