Hundreds pay their last respects to late South Woodford Vicar
PUBLISHED: 15:00 28 May 2018 | UPDATED: 16:09 28 May 2018
More than five hundred people paid their last respects to a late South Woodford vicar who was at the heart of the community.
Family, friends, worshippers, dog walkers, street sweepers and business owners, among others, came together to attend a funeral service for Fr Robert Hampson at his Holy Trinity Church, in Hermon Hill, on Wednesday, May 23.
Some travelled from as far as France and Israel, while others called from Palestine and Canada to offer their condolences.
Known affectionately as Father - an unconventional title for an Anglican vicar - Fr Hampson died on Sunday, May 6 at the age of 59 following a battle with kidney and bone cancer.
Diagnosed in 2013, his illness did not prevent him from continuing to lead services from his wheelchair.
He leaves behind his wife Florence Hampson, 52; step daughter Lakesia Adams-Poku, 20; and dog Cromwell.
“For me it was wonderful to see that, even though he suffered, he still continued to enjoy life,” said Florence.
She added: “We were best friends, we were everything.”
Remembering his life, his sister Ros Southern said: “He was a very independent, determined person who loved reading and exploring and was very into community life.”
His funeral service was led by Bishop Peter Hill and featured a poetry reading by Fr Hampson’s dad and tribute by his cousin Mick Carter.
Fr Hampson founded community group the East London Three Faiths Forum with his close friends Rabbi David Hulbert, of the East London and Essex Liberal Synagogue, and Dr Mohammed Fahim, of South Woodford Mosque.
“He was incredibly gifted and talented. He was a great scholar and he loved languages,” Rabbi Hulbert said, adding:
“He is one of the cleverest men I have met.”
An avid linguist, Fr Hampson was fluent in German, knew ancient Greek, Latin, classical Hebrew and was working to improve his spoken and written Arabic.
His passion for German came in tandem with his admiration of 16th Century German theologian and author Martin Luther.
He also loved buying and repairing old motorcycles, Rabbi Hulbert said.
The Rabbi recalled fondly that he would take them apart in his kitchen and never quite put them back together again.
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