St Chad Medal to celebrate six decades of service

Published: 11th September 2023

On behalf of the Bishop of Lichfield, Bishop Jan presented a St Chad Medal to Ashley Canagasabey last week, recognising his many decades of service to Saint Chad's church in Stafford.

For over 60 years, Ashley has been a server ever since immigrating to Stafford from Sri Lanka. Born almost 90 years ago, he learnt the faith, and was a server at Saint Pauls, Milagiriya, Colombo.

After leaving school and completing a four year Mechanical Engineering apprenticeship, he was awarded a scholarship by the German government in 1961, aged 26. His further training was at Alaskawerk in Bergneustadt, Linde in Cologne and in Nagold in the Black Forest. He says that he used to think in German, but his German is now rusty. During his time in Germany he saw the Berlin Wall go up.

In June 1962 he came to England to complete his Institution of Mechanical Engineer's exams. After a short period in London, he moved to Stafford in 1962 to work at W H Dorman, a large local engineering firm which has since been taken over many times. Living just outside town he walked in and, as he puts it, "Saint Chads was the first Anglican church I saw". When he said that he had been a server in Sri Lanka the then Vicar, Fr Wroe, recruited him immediately.

So began a 60+ years ministry at Saint Chad's in the heart of Stafford. Ashley has seen many priests and parish arrangements as teams and benefices have changed. The current vicar of St Chad's, Preb Richard Grigson recalls that "As clergy have come and gone Ashley has played an important part in keeping the doors open and the prayerful welcome on the high street."

The full citation reads:

On the 1st of September 2023 ASHLEY PERINBAM CANAGASABEY was presented with the St Chad’s Medal for his outstanding service to Saint Chad’s church and the community. Ashley has been a stalwart of Saint Chad's, Stafford since coming to this country from his home in Sri Lanka in 1962. He has been a constant support for several retired and self-supporting clergy and more recently to Fr Richard. He has always maintained a faithful helpfulness presence in Saint Chad’s and has always helped to keep the doors open and maintain a welcome on the high street. Ashley’s devotion to Saints Chads church and the community has been exemplary.


{l-r: Revd Danny Payne, Assistant Curate of Stafford, Preb Richard Grigson, Vicar of Saint Chads and Rector of Stafford; Rt Revd Jan McFarlane, former assistant Curate of Stafford; Ashley; Philip Taylor, Reader; Revd John Davis, Stafford town centre chaplain.}

The service can be rewatched on the Stafford Churches' live stream.

Page last updated: Monday 11th September 2023 1:47 PM
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