Bernard Thorogood who died this week grew up at Moat during the second world war and was ordained there in 1953. I first met Bernard at a District meeting just after he had become the URC’s General Secretary in 1980. The following year, I had a summer pastorate at East Croydon Church and, while there, met the rest of Bernard’s family who were active members. For the remainder of Bernard’s time as GS, we met on many occasions and slightly to my embarrassment, whenever we did meet, Bernard, a very large man, wrapped his arms around me, a very small man, lifting me off the ground in a friendly but rather ferocious bear-hug. Throughout my time as National AIDS advisor, Bernard was a warm companion along that rather rocky road. We met from time to time, after Bernard moved to Australia, including an amusing encounter in Russell Square, where Bernard was having what I came to understand as a ‘private’ meeting and I was running around the Square in gym gear, learning the ropes as an instructor at Central YMCA. We looked at each other hardly believing our eyes.
I will remember Bernard with great affection and as a special ‘father figure’ to me in my early ministry.