Tributes to village church minister

TRIBUTES have been paid today to a Suffolk clergyman who will be remembered for his “empathy and kindness”.

TRIBUTES have been paid today to a Suffolk clergyman who will be remembered for his “empathy and kindness”.

Rev Michael Morton, who died on Friday, November 17, was an ordained local minister in the Anglican Church.

Mr Morton, 69, served as a volunteer priest in the parishes of Westerfield, Tuddenham and Witnesham and he and his wife Rita had lived in Witnesham for 21 years.

Colleague Rev Sam Cowley, priest-in-charge at Westerfield, Tuddenham and Witnesham, said: “Michael's death has affected many people in the local area. Obviously Rita and the family, and our thoughts and prayers are with them now and in the coming weeks.

“Michael was important to so many of us in many and various ways.

“In his ministry to the churches in our benefice he served as a reader from 1998 and after training for two years on the diocesan ministry course, he was ordained to our parishes in 2004.”

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It was during this training that Mr Morton was diagnosed with cancer.

Mr Cowley said: “Michael's ability to handle that illness has been a witness to all of us who knew him.

“It got him down at times, we know, but he was always positive setting himself targets to achieve all the time and enjoying achieving them.

“There was also his private ministry. There are many people, myself included, who have reason to be grateful for his empathy and kindnesses when we ourselves were in need.

“He kept his sense of humour all the way through his illness, even to the point last year of telling his family it was okay to buy him a Christmas present, but to make sure they kept the receipt.

“His death is a great loss to us all and he will be missed by many in lots of ways.

“We give thanks to God for his life and ministry but also that he is free from the cancer that troubled him so much in these last couple of years.”

Mr Morton served as a district councillor from 1987 to 1995. He was leader of Suffolk Coastal District Council from 1994 to 1995.

He leaves a sister, three daughters and 13 grandchildren. The couple's son Andrew died tragically two and a half years ago in a flying accident.

A committal service will be held on Monday, November 27, at 11.45am at the West Chapel, Ipswich Crematorium, followed by a main service of thanksgiving at 1pm at St Mary's Church, Witnesham.

Would like to pay tribute to Rev Morton? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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