6 April 1924 - 17 October 2020

By Jane Haviland

Our father, Edmund Selwyn Haviland (the eldest of three sons of Edmund Arthur Haviland and Vivienne Selwyn Brown) was born in Brightling, Sussex, where his father had been Rector. Soon after his two brothers were born the family moved to Worthing, where his father, was inducted to the position of Rector of St Botoph’s, Heene, a parish which became very close to all their hearts. With the Sunday walks along the seafront, with the seaweed, the family loved their parish and invested much of their time in working within it.

Indeed, it was in 1933 that Edmund Arthur Haviland, together with two good friends, established Worthing Council of Social Services which as we all know, later became Guildcare. They built up this organisation in recognition that society was not set up to support people who had lives that did not fit societal expectations, which in those times included people with mental health issues, mothers whose children were born out of wedlock and people living poverty. Dad always felt very humbled about this organisation and delighted in following its progress over the years, really up until he died. He was a great supporter of the team and welcomed Julia Johnson’s suggestion of naming Haviland House after his father.  Those of us who were able to follow its design and build and then attend the opening were amazed about the dedication of the team in developing such an incredible home. With his then wife Jane, suffering from dementia and ultimately dying from it, it really was very close to his heart.

A summary of his life, he started at Wellington College in 1937. He often recounted tales of his time there including the early war period. Particularly entertaining were his stories of walking round the College during the war, with a broom as a "gun" when they were part of the home guard. More recently, and as an active member of the Old Wellingtonians, his proudest moment was presenting a reading at the Wellington College centenary celebration at the Albert Hall.

On leaving Wellington, he followed his father, the Rev. E.A. Haviland to Cambridge, where he read history. His studies were interrupted by the War and after only one year, he was enlisted in the RAF. He completed his training in South Africa, learning first on Tiger Moths, which earned him his nickname of Tiger.  His posting in South Africa lasted for the rest of the War. As a Flight Instructor he taught many young men to fly.  In 1945, after VE Day, he returned to Worthing. He was at the station about to be posted to Burma, when fortunately, news arrived that Japan surrendered.  He was demobbed in 1947 and went up again to Cambridge to finish his degree.  After graduation, he went to Wells Theological College, and in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, Arthur Coles Haviland, was ordained into the priesthood.  My brother Andrew is now also a priest and my elder sister Margaret has recently been ordained as a Deacon.

After his ordination in 1951 in Southwark Cathedral, he became curate at St Peter, St Helier, from where he served as Deputy Chaplain to the House of Commons.

He married our mother, Gillian Johnstone, in 1957, and after Margaret was born we moved to his new parish Ockbrook, Derby, where the rest of us (Angela, Andrew and myself) were all born. 

His next appointment was a 16 year ministry in East Peckham in Kent, 1968 - 1984. We all made many lasting friendships here.  Prior to his retirement he spent a few months in South Africa, where he served as Assistant to the Bishop of Umtata.  

On his return, there came a big change when he was invited to join the team of chaplains at Brixton Prison. This proved to be a moving, exhausting and yet exhilarating experience, which left an indelible mark on his life. In 1987, following an introduction to a lady I met whilst travelling in India, he met and married the artist Lady Jane Stevens. They lived in Thursley, Surrey, where, (in his so-called retirement), he was actively involved in the parish and often acted as a locum for the parish priest. He also published a book on St. Luke’s Gospel - “ St. Luke and The Love of God”.

His wife, Jane, died of dementia in February 2019 following which he moved to The Cathedral Close in Salisbury. He loved and appreciated the majesty of Salisbury Cathedral and the fellowship of his neighbourhood. He was delighted to live so close to the Cathedral as well as being just a few miles away from Margaret and his younger brother John (now aged 91!). He rejoiced in many visits from family and old friends and spent much time visiting his children including holidays in Suffolk and Spain.

My father died suddenly and peacefully whilst cooking his supper on the evening of October 17th, 2020, aged 96 (and1/2).  His funeral, was held on 3 November 2020 in Salisbury Cathedral, where he was welcomed the evening before, to allow his children and grandchildren a period of private grief and prayers whilst he rested among candlelight and memorial poppies. The funeral service, despite being restricted to just 30 guests, was a holy and dignified Communion Service in the wonderful building enhanced by beautiful flowers and candles arranged by Angie, a well-established Chicago floral specialist.  All four of us children contributed with readings and prayers and his old friend Bishop David Wilcox, with whom he was a curate almost 70 years previously, sensitively presented the eulogy.

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