My husband died suddenly of a heart attack in 2006 leaving me a widow with two teenage sons, one of whom has autism and learning difficulties. The curate in our parish was away the night my husband died, and unable to give my husband the Last Rites (another priest was called).

The curate returned to do my husband’s funeral Mass and it was truly memorable the way he spoke about him. As you can imagine the days, weeks and months after my husband’s death were really hard for us, but this priest kept calling at the home, giving us strength, hope and friendship. He never gave up on us when we were finding it hard to go on.

I would often say to him after my husband’s death, ‘Father I don’t know how I will go on’ and he would say, ’your husband will open many a door for you now’. Nearly 17 years later his words are true for many good things have come our way.

Before tragedy touched our lives I always thought when I met and spoke with this priest that he was a very holy and saintly man and that he was a walking saint, and now that he has reached eternal rest, I surely know that is true.

In life we all meet people who touch our lives and leave a lasting memory.  This priest was one of those.