A distinguished retired priest who played a key role in the D-Day landings in Normandy before serving as a vicar in the West Midlands and Staffordshire has died aged 97.
The Revd Preb Dick Sargent was ordained as deacon in 1952 and, after serving in Chester Diocese, was Vicar in Bushbury, Wolverhampton, from 1967-73 and Castle Church in Stafford from 1973-89, as well as being Rural Dean of Stafford from 1981-88 and a Prebend at Lichfield Cathedral from 1987 until his retirement in 1989.
Eight years before his ordination, as a 19-year-old, Dick was a Royal Navy sub-lieutenant tasked with landing troops on Utah Beach in the early hours of 6 June 1944. This included spending half an hour in the water getting boats off the sandbanks of Normandy beach.
Dick’s efforts led to him being appointed to the rank of Chevalier in the Ordre National de la Legion d’Honneur in 2016 – one of the highest distinctions given by the French Government. At the time of his award, in a Spotlight article (see page 6), Dick said: “I am very delighted that what we did that morning has been recognised in this way – it fits in very well with Remembrance Sunday.”
Dick, who died on Christmas Eve, continued to serve following his retirement having gained Permission To Officiate and worshipped in the Mid Trent churches.
The Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave, said: “Through almost ten decades of Christian faith and seven decades of Christian ministry, Dick exemplified what it means to live by faith, to care for the people of God, and to live life to the full. He was a priest of great commitment, integrity and courage, and we salute all that he gave to the Church of England, in this diocese and beyond.”
Dick's funeral will take place at All Saints Church, Sandon, on Wednesday 19 January at 1.15pm. Attendees are asked to take a lateral flow test before arrival. The service will be lived-streamed and available afterwards. If you wish to attend please contact Stephen Butt, Churchwarden, at email@example.com or by telephone on 07972 838140. It is the family’s wish that any clergy in attendance are not robed and are seated with the congregation.