In loving memory of dear “Scrivener”

St Mary’s church family remembers Tony Fitzpatrick-Brown

As some of you will know, Tony Fitzpatrick-Brown died unexpectedly over the Christmas period. He was a faithful member of St Mary’s, being a contributor to the Parish Magazine as “Scrivener”, a Thursday Cafe visitor, and a staunch supporter of Evensong and previously the 8.00am Sunday service. We will miss his love, care and support very much. We hope you enjoy these memories from his St Mary’s church family.

The Parishioner asked Natalie Jones to share her reflections:

I always looked forward to Scrivener—usually the first thing I read in the mag, and easy to find at the back! It was always something interesting and thought provoking. I wondered who it was, but one day something clicked—is it Tony? I asked him outright “yes” he said, “but don’t tell anybody!” so I never did.

At the 8 o’clock service on Sundays Tony was so very helpful to Alan who would never have been able to attend without Tony’s help in getting ready and then taking him to church with his rollator. Afterwards Tony would do breakfast for all, with his marmalade and jams and other goodies, and then take Alan home.

Tony definitely “went the extra mile” in the things he did for Alan, including taking him shopping every week. (And no doubt he went the extra mile for others too!)

Ian Arnold shared some lovely memories that go way back…

In 1970-71 I had lodgings in Ash Vale. A friendly neighbour had mentioned the local Church they attended. Early, one cool sunny Sunday morning I randomly decided to go to the communion service.

I don’t remember much about the service, it being familiar to me having been brought up from an early age and later confirmed in the C of E . Although then I had no memory of the parishioners names, I do remember just two people. One the verger who rang the bell, who was very serious and wore a black coat. The other was a complete contrast; (Tony!) Tall, well built, wearing a cardigan or jumper of some kind, with a lot of hair and a distinctive pony tail. It wasn’t that long hair was unusual but rather that this was the person who actually spoke to me and was friendly. I remember his welcome and he clearly encouraged me to come and join them again. Perhaps I should have, but no, there were other things on my horizon including my friends at North Camp Methodist young people’s fellowship.

My life took an unplanned direction in 2008 and a return to Ash Vale. Eventually I decided to connect with a local Church: St Mary’s. This time many more friendly welcomes and some colleagues from where I had previously worked. Yes you’ve guessed although not then knowing his name, I met Tony again at the early morning communion. A few years later Tony introduced, organised and provided a breakfast after the service. We had some super jams he had made, really good coffee and conversations.

Tony was a clever man and had a vast range of knowledge. Not proud or showy, just good, solid, reliable, kind, straightforward, and generous. I am pleased to have had him as a friend and so glad he was a Christian.

I have one regret now, and may be a bit sad, that in all our conversations I never said I had met and been welcomed by him previously 50 or so years earlier. Goodbye for now Tony, from Ian.

So many people have shared their memories—we hope that this blesses those of you who are missing him, as we are.

“Dear Tony, A good and faithful servant of St Mary’s. A perfect gentleman. His articles provoked much thought. He will be much missed. “

“Dear Tony, always at the breakfast after early church. He brilliantly looked after Alan before his moving to a care home. Always smiling, a true Christian. “

“I used to say hello to Tony at the garden centre where he sold the spas. He was always such fun to talk to.”

“I associate Tony with always being a warm welcomer, a smiling face on Sundays as I arrived to set up for Sunday School and he would be washing up after breakfast post—8am service. Always cheerful, friendly and so kind to all. “

“A wise man of God of great strength for Him and hard work for all in the congregation and in the community. He leaves a huge space—all best wishes for the family. “

With love, dear ‘Scrivener’, from all your readers and friends. x