Tributes pour in for priest

TRIBUTES were today pouring in for parish priest Father John McNally, who died in his church while conducting a funeral service.The Evening Star has set up an on-line Book of Condolence for Fr McNally so grieving parishioners, friends and colleagues can pay their respects and write about their memories of him.

By Richard Cornwell

TRIBUTES were today pouring in for parish priest Father John McNally, who died in his church while conducting a funeral service.

The Evening Star has set up an on-line Book of Condolence for Fr McNally so grieving parishioners, friends and colleagues can pay their respects and write about their memories of him.

As reported in yesterday's Evening Star, Fr McNally died after collapsing while conducting the funeral of 91-year-old Kay Thomson on Wednesday afternoon.

He suddenly fell to the floor at the end of the first hymn during the requiem mass at St Felix Roman Catholic Church and is understood to have hit his head on the altar.

Nurses in the congregation immediately went to help and an ambulance was called.

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Fr McNally took up the post as parish priest for St Felix and the sister church of St Cecilia's in Trimley St Mary in 1993, taking over from Father Peter Leeming.

Previously he had served as parish priest at Brandon and in Cambridge. He entered the ministry after a career in accountancy, bringing with him an experience of the wider world and a love of people.

Joao Da Silva and Susana De Andrade, of Felixstowe, said they had been with him on Tuesday night preparing for their wedding.

They said: “It was such a shock for us to receive this news. He seemed well. He was such a lovely person, always cheerful, always helpful.

“He will be greatly missed, especially by us. His advice has helped us a lot and will stay with us forever.”

Stephen Squirrell, of Trimley St Mary, said: “He was a wonderful, lively man to whom nothing was too much for him to help out with or to give advice on.

“My mother and the rest of my family are devastated.”

Others have written and spoken of their shock at his death, describing him as “a warm, wise and friendly man who was a credit to his profession”, adored by children, who he always included in his services.

“He had humour and compassion for all, including those not baptised into the catholic faith,” said one.

He originally came from Ireland, where he has a large family. Funeral arrangements will be announced by the family and the Bishop of East Anglia later.

Pay your tributes ­- sign the on-line Book of Condolence at www.eveningstar.co.uk or write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

n. See Edblog at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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