Tributes to church stalwart

Denis Sweetman
Denis Sweetman

A thanksgiving service has been held in honour of a well-respected servant of the Church of England, who would have celebrated 50 years of

priesthood on the same day.

Rev Denis Sweetman, from Amble, passed away in May, aged 91, after a short illness.

He leaves behind wife Evelyn and daughter Anne.

Sunday’s well-attended service took place at Shilbottle Church.

A service had been planned to honour Rev Sweetman’s half-a-century of priesthood, but it became a thanksgiving service following his passing.

Rev Richard Ford preached a sermon which had been prepared by Rev Sweetman for the service.

He said: “Denis had written out a sermon for last Sunday, but after finding out that he was ill he asked other people to do the service.

“He asked me to read his sermon while Rev Paul Scott conducted the service, which was very well-attended .

“People came from all over the place to attend. He was a lovely guy with a great sense of humour.”

Rev Sweetman, a retired priest, was ordained in Rochester Cathedral in 1964.

Prior to this he had served in the Royal Navy. A Second World War veteran, he was part of the ill-fated Allied attack on the German-occupied port of Dieppe in 1942.

He had also been a commercial artist.

Rev Sweetman moved up to the North East in 1989 to retire.

However, he still took an active role in church life and following his retirement he took services in 72 different churches in Northumberland, in locations such as Boulmer, Lesbury, Alnmouth and Shilbottle.

His daughter Anne said: “He was very proud of that record and he kept a list of all of the churches.”