Communities in South Holland are in shock after the sudden death of their vicar.
Rev Peter Garland, of St John The Baptist Parish Church in Spalding and Deeping St Nicholas Parish Church, died in hospital on Wednesday (May 27) after being admitted following a fall at home.
Rev Garland, who lived opposite St John’s church in Hawthorn Bank, was chairman of the governors at its associated primary school.
Headteacher Paul Reid told parents: “As well as being our vicar and chair of governors, Peter was an exceptional friend to our school and one of our biggest advocates.
“He will be an enormous loss. I have a wide experience of school vicars and school governors and I have never come across anyone else who was so committed to the role as Peter was.”
He added: “Of course our loss is small compared to that of Peter’s wife, Frances and his three children. Please hold them in your thoughts and prayers.”
The school is currently on half-term holiday and Mr Reid had met Rev Garland earlier this week to discuss the vicar taking collective worship with Key Stage Two pupils on Monday.
Rev Garland was due to visit Italy for a month and was planning to share with pupils what he would be doing.
Friends Of The School chairman Vicky Harvey had known Rev Garland since just before he christened her son six years ago.
Connor is now in Year 1 at the school and elder sister Keira is in Year 4.
Mrs Harvey said: “Peter was truely unique, a witty and caring gentleman. He had a way of making everyone feel welcome in service and was such an inspirational man.
“His commitment to the school was fabulous and he would always come along and support the Friends’ events.
“My children loved his collective worship in school and would often come home telling me all about the stories he had told them.
“A true hero in our community has sadly been lost to us.”
Rev Garland was also senior chaplain at The Johnson Community Hospital.
Angela Newton said: “On behalf of the Johnson Community Hospital League of Friends, I would like to pass on our condolences to Mrs Garland and Peter’s family.
“He was a wonderful friend and helper to us all. The work he did at the hospital was immense, he will be missed by league members, the hospital staff and, of course, the patients.”