The Bishop of Stafford has paid tribute to a popular parish priest who died last week following a lengthy illness.
The Revd Les Rees was Vicar of Draycott in the Clay, Hanbury, Newborough and Rangemoor in East Staffordshire. He died last Tuesday, 15 June, after a battle with cancer aged 71.
The Bishop of Stafford, the Rt Revd Matthew Parker, said: “Les was a much-loved parish priest with a deep faith and a transparent joyfulness. He spoke of Jesus with simplicity and passion but always with gentleness and good humour. He bore his long illness with great fortitude and was writing for the parish magazine and preparing banns forms only days before his death.
“Les trusted that he would soon be sharing in the resurrection life of his Lord and that conviction was undimmed to the very end. It is in that faith that we commend Les into the everlasting arms of Almighty God.”
Les, who is survived by his wife Wendy and two sons Matthew and Peter, was ordained in Manchester as a non-stipendiary minister in 2006. He moved to Lichfield Diocese in 2009 where he served as Associate Minister in Draycott in the Clay, Hanbury, Newborough, Tutbury and Rangemore. From 2014, he was Assistant Minister in Tutbury, Anslow and Rolleston while being Priest in Charge of Draycott in the Clay, Hanbury, Newborough and Rangemore , before becoming their Vicar in 2018. He was also an Associate Priest at the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham.
As part of his ministry, Les worked closely with pupils and staff at St Augustine’s C of E First School Draycott in the Clay, Needwood C of E Primary School Newborough, and All Saints C of E Primary School in Rangemore, including a special Confirmation Service there for two teachers (pictured with Les and the then Bishop of Stafford, the Rt Revd Geoff Annas) which featured in diocesan magazine Spotlight in 2017 (p6).
His funeral will be held at Hanbury Church on Thursday 8 July but, due to current restrictions, attendance is by invitation only.